How to Put Out a Grill Fire and Prevent Flare Ups: A Comprehensive Guide

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Summer is in full swing, which means it’s the perfect time to invite friends and family over for a backyard BBQ. However, with grilling season comes the risk of grill fires and flare ups, which can quickly ruin your cookout. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to prevent grill fires and flare ups, as well as how to put them out safely if they do occur.

How to Prevent Grill Fires and Flare Ups

The first step in preventing grill fires and flare ups is proper maintenance and cleaning of your grill. Follow these tips to ensure your grill is in top shape:

Clean Your Grill Before and After Every Use

Leftover grease and food particles can easily ignite and cause a grill fire, so it’s important to clean your grill before and after each use. Use a wire brush to scrape off any residue on the grates and make sure to remove any ash or debris from the bottom of the grill.

Keep Your Grill in a Safe Place

Make sure your grill is located on a flat, level surface away from any flammable objects like overhanging trees or a wooden deck. Additionally, always supervise the grill when it’s in use.

Use the Right Amount of Fuel

Overloading your grill with charcoal or gas can cause flare ups, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate amount of fuel to use.

Avoid Using Flammable Liquids

Never use flammable liquids like gasoline or lighter fluid to start your grill as this is a recipe for a dangerous fire. Instead, use a chimney starter or electric starter to ignite the coals.

How to Put Out a Grill Fire

If a grill fire does occur, it’s important to act quickly and safely. Follow these steps:

Remove Any Flammable Objects

If there are any flammable objects near the grill, such as a wooden deck or a propane tank, move them away immediately.

Put Out the Flames

If the grill fire is small, you may be able to put it out by closing the grill lid and turning off the burners or removing the food from the grill. If the flames are larger, use a fire extinguisher or baking soda to smother the fire. Never use water on a grease fire as it can cause the flames to spread.

Call for Help if Necessary

If you’re unable to put out the fire yourself or it becomes too large to handle, call 911 immediately.


What Causes Grill Fires?

Grill fires are usually caused by grease or food particles igniting on the grill grates. Additionally, overloading the grill with fuel or using flammable liquids to ignite the grill can increase the risk of a fire.

How Do You Prevent Flare Ups?

To prevent flare ups, make sure to clean your grill before and after each use, keep your grill in a safe location away from flammable objects, use the right amount of fuel, and avoid using flammable liquids to start your grill.

Can You Use Water to Put Out a Grill Fire?

No, using water on a grease fire can cause the flames to spread and lead to a dangerous situation. Instead, use a fire extinguisher or baking soda to smother the flames.


Grilling can be a fun and delicious way to spend time with friends and family, but it’s important to prioritize safety to prevent grill fires and flare ups. By following these tips for maintenance, prevention, and safety, you can enjoy a safe and successful backyard BBQ season.


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