We wait for it all winter long: summer. The season for road trips, vacations, backyard barbecues, evening fires, camping and boating. While we prepare to enjoy the outdoors, it is best that we keep a few fire safety tips in mind.

You can help keep Edmonton safe by checking albertafirebans.ca or calling 311 before you burn to find out if there is a fire ban in Edmonton.  

General BBQ Safety

Barbecuing is a year-round pastime for many Edmontonians. These safety tips will help you to use your grill safely.

  • Place the BBQ at least 3 feet (1 metre) away from the home, deck railings and out from under eavestroughs and overhanging branches 
  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet (1 metre) away from the grilling area
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below
  • Only use propane and charcoal BBQs outdoors
    • Did you know? Grilling in the garage with the door open does not allow for enough ventilation and could cause an accumulation of carbon monoxide
  • When lighting your barbecue, have the match or lighter already burning with the barbecue lid open before you turn on the propane
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended and never move a lit barbecue
Charcoal BBQ Safety
  • Never use gasoline to get a charcoal BBQ started 
    • Use charcoal lighting fluid or solid fuel starter, as per product manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Wait for at least 1 minute before lighting fluid-soaked coals in order for explosive vapours to dissipate
  • Never spray lighter fluid on hot coals 
  • Always extinguish the coals when you’ve finished barbecuing
    • Use oven mitts and tongs to submerge the coals in a metal pail of water
  • Always use the lid provided with charcoal barbecues

Note: Solid-fuel barbecues are prohibited for apartment use

Gas / Propane BBQ Safety

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911. Do not move the grill. 

If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

Maintenance Tips

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year by applying the soapy bubble test. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
    • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill
    • If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again
    • Call 911 for the fire department if the leak does not stop
  • Never check for leaks with an open flame
  • Make sure the burner holes and tubes connected to the burners are free of rust and debris, and that the burner throat (where the propane enters the burner), is free of dust or cobwebs
  • In order to prevent propane from getting trapped in the hose after each use, turn off the propane tank cylinder valve first, then the “ON/OFF” valve on the barbecue


Fire Pit Safety

If you are using a fire pit, it must meet the standards outlined in the City of Edmonton Community Standards Bylaw. According to this bylaw, your fire pit must:

  • Be at least 10 feet (3 metres) away from buildings, property lines, overhead power lines and any other combustibles (such as, trees)
  • Not exceed 2 feet (0.6 metres) in height
  • Not exceed 3 feet (1 metre) in width or diameter
  • Have enclosed sides made from bricks, concrete blocks or heavy-gauge metal
  • Have a spark-arrestor mesh screen with openings no larger than 1.25 cm (0.5 inch)

Only burn clean fuel, such as natural gas, dry wood or charcoal, when using a fire pit. Remember, it is illegal to burn rubber, plastic, or any material that generates unacceptable amounts of dense smoke which can be noxious, offensive and toxic.

Campfire Safety
  • Before setting up a campfire, check that you are permitted to do so in the area
  • If campfires are permitted, they need to be at least 8 metres (25 feet) away from any structure and anything that can burn
  • Clear away dry leaves and sticks, and any overhanging low branches or shrubs
  • Avoid burning on windy, dry days
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids to start a fire
  • Always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel with dirt or sand nearby to extinguish the fire 
  • Never leave a campfire unattended
  • Never let children or pets play or stand too close to a burning fire
  • If your clothes catch fire, Stop, Drop, and Roll continually until the fire is out
  • Treat a burn as soon as possible
  • Cool the burn with cold water for 3 to 5 minutes, then cover with a clean, dry cloth 
  • Get medical help if needed

Roast with Care: Roasting marshmallows? Making s'mores? Remember to help young children. Never shake a roasting marshmallow stick - it can turn into a flying, flaming ball. Heated metal skewers can also cause burns.

Motorhomes, Campers and Recreational Vehicles
  • Install and regularly test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms 
  • Stay in the kitchen area while you cook and keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop
  • Regularly check any appliances that use propane (such as, refrigerators, furnaces, ovens and stovetops) for leaks
  • Get the propane system routinely inspected by a professional
  • Have an escape plan - always know at least 2 ways out 
  • Make sure windows can be easily opened 
  • Never leave camping heaters or lanterns on while sleeping
  • Keep a portable fire extinguisher nearby and only use it if the fire is small and can be contained 
  • Have your vehicle serviced by a qualified mechanic as many fires start in the engine area, running gear or wheel area

Download the  Stay Safe Sheet: BBQ Safety and the  Stay Safe Sheet: Fire Pit Safety to learn more.