Outdoor Fire Safety Tips

Posted on May 22, 2014

Outdoor fire safety tipsHappy National Barbecue and Hamburger Month!

That’s right, the entire month of May is dedicated to all things burgers and barbecue.

The warmer weather has set in making it the perfect time to go outside and enjoy your backyard while grilling some amazing grub. And once you’ve finished enjoying your dinner, who can resist marshmallow roasting over the fire pit?

To help keep you safe this summer season, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for proper barbecuing to help prevent your evenings from blazing out of control.


According to the U.S. Fire Administration, it is estimated that there are approximately 6,000 fires, five fatalities, 170 injuries, and $35 million in property loss due to outside barbecues.


  • Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line for possible blockages.
  • Douse hot coals with plenty of water to make sure they are fully extinguished.
  • Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home.
  • Clean your grill regularly to ensure built up grease does not catch fire.
  • Keep a spray bottle of water and a fire extinguisher handy.

Do Not…

  • Wear loose clothing while cooking.
  • Overfill the propane tank.
  • Add lighter fluid to an already lit fire.
  • Place hot coals in a plastic, paper or wooden container.
  • Place your barbecue under hanging plants or decorations.
  • Turn on the gas while your barbecue lid is closed. The gas can build up inside the grill and create a fireball once the lid is opened. Check out these disturbing demonstrations from ABC News.

Fire Pits

Fire pits are ranked as one of the most requested residential features according to American Society of Landscape Architects. And why wouldn’t they be? They not only serve as a functional piece of outdoor equipment but can often times be a beautiful addition to any landscape.

But don’t let their beauty fool you, fire pits can still pose a big safety hazard if they aren’t installed and used properly.

Do Not…

  • Place a fire pit under a covered patio or tree.
  • Place a fire pit on a wooden deck.
  • Throw water on the ashes to extinguish them and walk away. Instead, spread the ashes over a large surface and let them cool for a bit before pouring a little bit of water on them. This ensures they are fully extinguished.


  • Place a fire pit at least 15 feet away from any flammable structure or surface.
  • Check the weather forecast and avoid windy conditions that may blow hot embers from a wood burning fire pit across the yard.
  • Check with your city or county to make sure it is a burn day. Some areas like California’s Central Valley institute multiple No Burn Days throughout the year in order to curb air pollution.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near by. You never know when you may need it.

For more information on how to build your own backyard fire pit, check out this great HGTV guide.