SAFETY WARNING: Petrol fires 'just not worth the risk'
A MARYBOROUGH fire-fighter has a reminder for those keeping warm by fire this winter after a man was burnt while trying to light one in his backyard.
Paramedics were called to an Alice St address on Monday night where they found a man with minor facial burns.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokesperson said the man had used petrol to light the backyard fire.
He was transported to Maryborough Hospital in a stable condition, but fire-fighter Brad Spencer said it could have been much worse.
He said the safest way to start a fire was by using a slow-burning fire lighter or by reverting to the age-old Boy Scout technique.
"Start with little kindling, some cardboard or some paper if you need to, or you can buy little fire lighters," Mr Spencer said.
"They're not designed to start in a hurry, but they are easy to ignite, burn slowly and they give off a constant heat to get the fire going in a safe manner."
He said using accelerants like petrol was an unnecessary risk.
"It's just not worth the risk," he said.
"You'll lose your eyebrows if you're lucky, but much worse is possible."
Mr Spencer said it was the vapour from accelerants that was the issue.
He said vapour was heavier than air and could travel along the ground without being noticed
"The fumes and vapour that comes off accelerants like petrol and other petrochemicals or hydrocarbons are unseen," Mr Spencer said.
"You might be a couple of metres away downhill or down-wind, and anything you have with you like a lighter, a mobile phone or a torch, can set those vapours alight and that would run back to the fire.
"If you're in that vapour cloud, then you will also be affected.
"Burns are very scary things.
"They are a wound that heals very slowly and can leave scarring for life and it takes a long time to get over."
Fraser Coast Regional Council by-laws prevent people in urban areas from lighting a fire bigger than 2m.