Chief’s Corner

helmets of experience

Warm Weather Means More Grilling

Seven out of every 10 adults in the U.S. have a grill or smoker*, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

In 2014-2018, fire departments went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.

Keep yourself and your family safe by using safe grilling techniques.


Grilling fire facts
  • July is the peak month for grill fires (18%), including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires, followed by June (15%), May (13%) and August (12%).
  • In 2014-2018, an average of 19,700 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.** Nearly half (9,500 or 48%) of the injuries were thermal burns, including both burns from fire and from contact with hot objects; 5,200 thermal burns, per year,were caused by such contact or other non-fire events.
  • Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 39%, of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals.
  • Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,900 home fires per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. Ten percent of gas grill structure fires and 22% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
  • Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300 home fires per year, including 600 structure fires and 600 outside fires annually.

Source: NFPA’s Applied Research
* Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA)
**Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, queried in April 2016

BURN BAN in effect for the months of MARCH, APRIL, MAY, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 6AM-6PM


If you see a fire burning out of control, you should call 911 or your local fire department.
Even outside the time and date restrictions, any person conducting a burn must obtain landowner permission, remain with the fire while it is burning, and take all reasonable precautions to prevent the fire from escaping.

Ohio Administrative Code 3745.19 is enforced by the Ohio EPA. Notification is required for many types of open burns in Ohio. Contact Ohio Division of Forestry 1-877-247-8733.

NEVER to be burned at any time or any place in Ohio:

  • Food waste
  • Dead animals
  • Materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or made from petroleum

Other Restrictions:

  • Fires must be more than 1000 feet from neighbor’s inhabited building
  • No burning when air pollution alert, warning, or emergency is in effect
  • Fire/smoke cannot obscure visibility on roadway, railways, or airfields
  • No waste generated off the premises may be burned
  • No burning within village or city limits or restricted areas

Contact Ohio EPA: (614) 644-2270 or Ohio EPA Open Burning.

What Is the Difference Between an Open Burn and a Prescribed Fire?

The term “open burn” refers to debris, brush and trash fires. Ohio EPA defines an open burn as any outdoor fire without a chimney or stack.

Open burning is particularly dangerous in the spring and fall, when the leaves are on the ground, the grass is not green, and the weather is warm, dry and windy.

“Prescribed fire” refers to fires that are intentionally lit, under predetermined conditions, to meet various resource management objectives. Prescribed fire can be used as a tool to eliminate undesirable vegetation and reduce hazardous fuel levels. When managed carefully, prescribed fire can stimulate the growth of native vegetation and reduce fire hazards brought on by the accumulation of dead vegetation.

Prescribed fires may be conducted during the burn ban, but only with the permission of the Chief of the Division of Forestry. To conduct a prescribed fire when open-burning is prohibited, an Ohio Certified Prescribed Fire Manager must request a waiver from Ohio DNR Division of Forestry.

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