Outdoor Fire Safety: Ideas and Rules

Outdoor Fire Safety: Ideas and Rules
Posted on 06/15/2023

The summer season is full of gatherings with friends and family like pool parties and barbecues. However, the lack of rain and high heat can increase the outdoor fire risk around your home. The Lenexa Fire Department has some tips to reduce the risk as you enjoy your summer.

Grilling Safety

July is the peak month for grill fires.

  • Only use grills and smokers outdoors and keep them at least 10 feet away from siding, deck rails, patio ceiling and roof overhangs.
  • Clean your grill or smoker regularly to remove grease buildup, which could start a fire.
  • Open gas grills before lighting to avoid a flash fire from the gas buildup.
  • Never leave grills or smokers unattended while they are being used.

Firepit Safety

Firepits do not require a permit in Lenexa as long as the following safety measures are being followed:

  • The fire must be contained in an above ground or below ground fire pit and be covered by a spark-arresting screen.
  • Only firewood can be burned – no trash or yard waste!
  • The pile size cannot exceed 2 feet high by 3 feet in diameter.
  • The fire pit must be at least 15 feet away from houses, sheds or anything that can burn.
  • The fire pit must always be attended while in use.
  • Submerge the coals in water before disposal.
  • Properly dispose of the coals in a metal container.

When grilling or burning, always keep a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby in case the fire spreads!

Ash Disposal

It can take more than 24 hours for ashes to cool.

  • Dispose of ashes from grills and firepits only after they are cool.
  • Submerge the coals in water before disposal.
  • Empty the ash into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only to collect ashes.
  • Place the container outside, away from anything that can burn.
  • Never empty the ashes directly into a trash can. Wait several days and make sure they are cool before disposing of them.

Cigarette Disposal

Improperly discarded smoking materials can easily start a fire outside your home.

  • Only smoke outside and dispose of smoking materials in a deep, sturdy ashtray away from anything that can burn.
  • Never empty smoking material directly into a trash can.
  • Do not throw out cigarettes into landscaping like grass, moss, mulch, or other yard waste.
  • Make sure cigarette butts and ashes are out by dousing them in water or putting them in sand.

Landscaping Prevention

Hot embers can be carried through the air from a firepit, grill, fireworks, etc. and start a fire outside your home.

  • Clean your gutters and roof lines of debris like dead leaves, twigs, and branches to avoid embers starting a fire on your roof.
  • Replace landscaping mulch around your house with rock or other non-combustible materials.
  • Keep a clearance around your house. Don’t let bushes, plants, trees and firewood touch your home.
  • Keep your yard well maintained.
  • Don’t store flammable items underneath decks or porches.

Published June 15, 2023