Grilling is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but when your backyard barbecue turns into a full-blown inferno, things can quickly go from sizzling to scary. That’s why it’s important to know how to put out a grill fire before it gets out of control.
So, grab your apron and spatula, and let’s dive into some tips to help you save your burgers and your pride. And if all else fails, just remember to call the fire department and blame it on the in-laws.
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What are the Most Common Causes of a Grill Fire?
If you have never experienced a grill fire before, it can be a scary experience, even if you are an experienced griller. While dealing with fire is part of the grilling experience, an unexpected flare-up that gets out of control can be dangerous.
Wondering what the most common causes of a grill fire are? Keep reading to find out.
One common cause of a grill fire is when grease has spilled and collected on the fuel source while it is ignited. While this typically does not cause a problem with small amounts of grease, it can turn out of control if a large amount of grease makes its way into your flame.
Grill That Hasn’t Been Cleaned
If you use your grill often, but neglect to clean it in between uses, you are likely going to experience a grill fire at some point. This is because when debris and other food particles accumulate in the grill, it can ignite causing you to have a grill fire.
Wanna know how to properly clean your grill? Have a look at our articles below!
- How To Clean A Flat Top Grill
- How To Clean A Charcoal Grill
- How To Clean An Electric Grill
- How To Clean A Pellet Grill
- How To Clean A Grill Without A Brush
Placement of the Grill
Another common reason for grill fires is when the unit is placed too close to materials that can catch on fire. For safety purposes, it is recommended that you keep the grill that is in use at least 10 feet away from houses, fences, deck railings, and other items that could cause a fire.
Leaving Food on the Grill for Too Long
Although you should be keeping an eye on your grill while it is in use, it is easy to get distracted by other things. When this occurs, you might not realize just how long your food has been on the grill, which can result in a grill fire.
What are the Different Types of Grill Fires?
When it comes to grill fires, it is important to be aware of the different types of fires you may encounter while grilling. The reason for this is that putting the fire out depends entirely on what type of fire you are dealing with.
This type of fire can be caused by various factors such as a large amount of grease spilling on the fuel source, or grease that has accumulated. No matter the cause, when you have grease that comes in contact with a flame, you can have a disaster on your hands before you realize it.
If you have a pellet grill, a fire can occur when you have an overabundance of pellet buildup in your firepot. This can happen easily if you neglect to clean your grill properly between uses and resulting in a fire and damage to your grill.
As previously mentioned, if you have placed your grill too close to various structures, it could result in a structural fire. This is often because the flame or heat gets too hot for the material it is touching causing it to ignite.
How to Put Out a Grill Fire
While not a common occurrence with grilling, sometimes a grill fire can happen, even if you have taken all the right precautions. When this happens, however, you need to know what you should do to put it out properly.
In most cases, the method you will use to put the fire out will depend on the type of grill you have and what kind of fire you are dealing with. Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher or other equipment available for such an instance.
Want to know how to put out a grill fire? Read on below to find out how.
Turn the Burners (on a Gas Grill) Off
If you are grilling on a gas or propane grill, the first thing you should do when you are dealing with a fire is turning the burners off. Keep in mind that you should only do so if it is safe and clear of fire.
The reason for this is that a fire typically needs fuel to continue burning and by turning the burners off, you are reducing the amount it has. A grill fire on a gas grill can typically be slowed down by using this quick method.
Close the Lid of the Grill
No matter what type of grill you have, if you experience a grill fire it is recommended that you close the lid as quickly as possible. Doing this can help to snuff out the fire since it lacks the oxygen needed to continue.
It may be important to note that before you reach in to close the lid of the grill during a fire, you need to ensure that it is safe for you to do so. In most cases, the lid is well above the fire and can be reached easily enough for you to close it.
Use a Fire Extinguisher
If you are dealing with a fire that does not go out by using the above methods, you may need to bring out your fire extinguisher. Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to have one on hand, especially if you grill very often.
When the fire reaches a certain point that closing the lid and reducing the fire source does not help, you may need the help of the fire extinguisher. Using the P.A.S.S. (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep), you will be able to put the fire out quickly and prevent further damage.
Pour on Some Baking Soda
If you do not have a fire extinguisher on hand, you may want to ensure that you at least have baking soda available. This is because the ingredients in baking soda work quickly to neutralize the fire causing it to be put out.
While many people believe that flour is the right baking ingredient to put out a fire, it is baking soda that works best. This is because baking soda can kill the acids that are often found in a fire thus extinguishing it safely and quickly.
Toss Some Sand or Dirt on the Fire
Another method you can use to put out a grill fire is tossing on some sand or dirt to smother the fire quickly. The idea behind this method is that when you are dealing with a fire, you want to smother the fire as quickly as possible.
While you may not have sand on hand that you can access quickly, most people have dirt in their yards that can be used. You should be careful when tossing dirt on to ensure that it does not contain other flammable materials that can make the fire worse.
Unplug Your Electric Grill
If you encounter a fire while using your electric grill, you will need to unplug the unit as quickly as possible. This is because electricity is the fuel source and keeping it plugged in can cause the fire to quickly get out of control.
Keep in mind that you should always use the utmost caution when attempting to unplug an electric grill that is on fire. This is why it is best to ensure that you have left some space between your grill and the electrical outlet to allow for unplugging it quickly.
Grill Fire Prevention Tips
One of the best ways to prevent a grill fire is to ensure that you have taken the recommended precautions in the first place. This means that you have done everything possible to make sure that your grill is in the best condition to use at all times.
Here are some of the best grill fire prevention steps that you should keep in mind when you are grilling:
- Always ensure that you have cleaned your grill after every use to prevent any grease buildup or food particles from being left behind.
- Make sure that there are at least 10 feet between your grill and any other surface that may be flammable.
- Keep an eye on your grill when it is in use.
- Check your grill for any defects before every use.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or other materials close by in case of a grill fire.
- Never use your grill if you are under the influence of alcohol.
- Ensure that there is plenty of ventilation for your grill to do what it does best.
- Do not allow children to play or be near the grill while it is in use
- Remove any food particles that may have fallen during your grilling session
By following these preventive measures, you can prevent a grill fire before it starts to ensure that you and your family are kept safe. While grilling is an excellent way to cook food, especially during warmer weather, it is important to do so using all the safety precautions possible.