Grilling safety a top priority to fire officials as we head into triple digits

Jun 11, 2024, 4:00 PM | Updated: Jun 12, 2024, 10:44 am

outdoor grilling safety...

Jacob Anderson and his wife, Sam Anderson, grill with friends and family at Rock Canyon Park in Provo on Saturday, July 4, 2020. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Heading into triple-digit highs, now is more important than ever to practice grilling safety when cooking outside.

“Sixteen percent of all grill fires happen in July historically, and that’s followed by a close second of June. So, we are right there in the heat of this danger,” said Benjamin Porter, public information officer with the United Fire Authority.

Grill fires by the numbers

Fires started by or related to grilling are not rare across the nation. Data from the National Fire Protection Agency shows July is the peak month for grill fires at 16%.  June was a close second at 14%  followed by May at 12%. 

According to the data, in roughly 20% of the fires, the grill was not cleaned. It also showed that gas grills were involved in an average of 9,079 home fires per year.

Additionally, over 25% of grill structure fires started on an exterior balcony or open porch

This data is based on 2017-2021 annual averages.

Grilling safety tips and warnings

Several steps are needed to prevent grill fires, but the top tip is to clean them regularly.

“The biggest thing we have to stress to people is make sure we keep them clean,” said Porter. “People will oftentimes let them get dirtier than they should and get that grease and fat build-up, and that’s actually the cause of 20% of grill fires.”

Other fire-prevention tips include making sure gas tanks and hoses are in good shape.

When cooking with charcoal, always use approved lighter fluid and cool charcoal completely before throwing it away in a metal container.

Keep grills off grass and away from vegetation and leave plenty of space between the grill and sides of the home. Additionally, never leave the grill unattended.

“[Leaving grills unattended is] something that a lot of us get comfortable with… But when that grill is left unattended, that’s a good opportunity for it to flare up and catch other things on fire,” said Porter.

These rules are especially important for apartment complexes that allow grills on outdoor balconies.

In case of a fire

If a grill fire begins, there are three steps UFA says you should do first. First, shut off the propane if possible. Second, close the lid of the grill. Then call 9-1-1.

They also suggest keeping a fire extinguisher in a well-known and easily accessible area of the home, because putting water on a grease fire can make the flames worse.

“If a barbeque catches fire and has a big fire coming out of it, chances are it’s going to be grease and fat build-up that’s underneath those grates. That dry chemical extinguisher is the best thing we can use to extinguish that,” said Porter.

They say never hesitate to call 9-1-1.

“We have absolutely no qualms getting en route, starting that way, and turning around if it ends up to be nothing. When people try to handle it themselves and let it catch into the house. . . that’s when it can be really dangerous,” he said.

Grill fires are relatively easy to manage when done properly.

“Even if that grill were to start on fire for a little bit, if it’s away from stuff on a cement pad with no fuel going to it, they typically go out pretty quick,” said Porter. “It’s when they’re too close to homes or too close to exposures and there is a continual fuel source, that’s when the situation goes on.”


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


people celebrate the opening of the new facility in millcreek...

Eric Cabrera

New facility in Millcreek gives young adults a new beginning

Salt Lake County Youth Services opened a new facility. The new facility in Millcreek is the largest they have to date, with an additional 18 beds.

12 hours ago

View of Salt Lake City pictured, governor is cracking down on denver sending immigrants to utah...

Aimee Cobabe

Utah governor’s office pushing back against Denver for bussing immigrants to Utah

Gov. Spencer Cox's office says that the City of Denver did not consult with them about sending immigrants to Utah.

12 hours ago

two participants at the National Veterans Golden Age Games are shown saluting...

Michael Martinez

Around 2,000 volunteers needed for National Veterans Golden Age Games

Up to 2,000 volunteers are needed for the National Veterans Golden Age Games. This is the first time the games have been held in Utah.

15 hours ago

A Biden-Harris campaign sign is seen among signs for other Utah Democratic Party candidates during ...

Eric Cabrera

Stealing campaign signs could get you a misdemeanor charge

Police say stealing campaign signs from your neighbor's lawn could cost you a misdemeanor, or even the right to vote.

21 hours ago

Tony Hawk is set to make an appearance at the Tony Hawk's Vert Alert skating competition....

Josuee Sanchez

Tony Hawk event sparking a desire to skate

Tony Hawk is visiting Utah for the Tony Hawk's Vert Alert skating competition, and it' sparking a desire for people to learn to skate.

22 hours ago

two people sit in the summer heat...

Adam Small

Salt Lake registers hottest daily overnight low temperature Friday

Salt Lake City registered its hottest overnight low temperature ever recorded on Friday, June 14.

23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Grilling safety a top priority to fire officials as we head into triple digits