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Turkey Fryers, Brush Fires Pose Safety Concerns This Thanksgiving

Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 | 5:50 am
A kitchen fire is pictured in an undated image provided by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

In addition to being the busiest day of the year for firefighters when it comes to cooking-related fires, this year’s Thanksgiving will also be accompanied by elevated wildfire risk, prompting officials to urge extra caution when it comes to fire safety.

Pasadena resident and former City Council candidate Kevin Litwin needs no reminder of the danger posed by fire.

Shortly before Thanksgiving last year, Litwin was in his backyard in the area of Allen Avenue and Loma Vista Street when he smelled smoke emanating from his neighbor’s house.

After standing on lawn furniture to get a view, “I see the smoke billowing out from the roof,” he said.

Litwin yelled to a housekeeper that the home was on fire, he said. Litwin’s wife ran to call 911 while simultaneously fetching a fire extinguisher.

Litwin said he hopped the fence and made his way into the smoky home, fire extinguisher in-hand, and found the source of the smoke coming from a motorized vent fan. Another neighbor had already shut off the home’s electricity.

The fire was out before firefighters arrived, city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. No injuries were reported, and the damage remained confined to the bathroom.

The event got Litwin thinking about fire safety, he said. And he’s not the only one.

The International Firefighters Associated had reminded the public that Thanksgiving generally sees the largest number of cooking-related fires all year.

Of particular concern are deep fryers, which many use to fry their Thanksgiving turkeys. More than 40 percent of all fires involving turkey fryers are reported on the holiday, the IAFF said in a written statement.

To avoid any mishaps or injuries, the IAFF urges home chefs to only use them outside and away from structures, and never when it’s raining or snowing. A grease-rated fire extinguisher should be kept nearby, and smaller turkeys of no more than 10 pounds or so are ideal.

“Make sure the turkey is completely thawed out – ice and water that mixes into the hot oil can cause a flare up,” the statement said. Children and pets should be kept away from fryers.

But it’s not just kitchens that face added fire danger this Thanksgiving, the National Weather Service said.

Another round of Santa Ana winds is in store for the Southland, with gusty conditions expected to begin Wednesday evening and build into Thanksgiving  — again raising concerns of possible wildfires.

A high wind watch issued by the National Weather Service will take effect Wednesday night and continue through Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles County Mountains.

At 1 a.m. Thursday, a fire weather watch will take effect in the mountains.

Forecasters said the fire weather watch is prompted by the combination of gusting Santa Ana winds and humidity levels that are expected to range between 5% and 15%, meaning particularly dry conditions that can be conducive to fires.

Although some areas of LA County are under Red Flag critical fire conditions, Pasadena is not.

See also:

Saying the Greatest Number of Home-Cooking Fires Occur on Thanksgiving, Pasadena Firefighters List Safety Tips

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