We’ve finally reached the time of the year when grilling outdoors becomes a very popular way to cook, and campfires are just as popular. Outdoor BBQs and campfires are allowed in Saint Paul, but they both need to be done safely to be enjoyed. Here are some important safety tips to follow:
· Always be in attendance of the grill when you’re barbequing. Maintain at a 3-foot kids zone away from the grille. That goes for pets, too.
· Always use approved charcoal lighter fluid to start the coals, or use an electric starter. NEVER USE GASOLINE. Most people do not appreciate just how volatile gasoline really is! Another alternative is to use the special “match light” charcoal that is pre-soaked with starter fluid.
· Don’t add lighter fluid to the coals if they’re still hot. It might flare up and burn your hands or face. Wait until the coals are cool before trying to relight them.
· What you do with the used coals is VERY IMPORTANT. Most barbeque fires are caused by carelessly discarding used coals. Even if you think they’re cool, put them in water or in a metal container. Many garages have burned down because used coals that were still hot were put in a paper bag and into the trash can in or near the garage. These fires can start up several days after you discard the coals!
· In Saint Paul, it is NOT ILLEGAL to barbeque on the balcony of your apartment, but we strongly recommend against it. Sometimes the wind can blow over the grille and spew hot ashes that can start a very bad fire and put a lot of people at risk and make them homeless. Always barbeque a safe distance away from buildings or other combustibles!
· According to the state fire code, campfires should not be more than 3 feet wide and 2 feet high. The campfire must be at least 25 feet from buildings or combustibles, or 15 feet away if you’re using an approved container, such as an outdoor fireplace or metal drum.
· Burn ONLY sawn wood from trees. NEVER BURN TRASH in your campfire.
· Always be in attendance of your campfire and have the means to put it out, such as a garden hose.
· You should not have a campfire in the city if the winds are more than 10 mph. If the smoke from your campfire is creating a nuisance to other people, put the fire out.
· If you are being bothered by the smoke from some else’s campfire, CALL 9-1-1 and we’ll have a fire crew drive over there to investigate and put the fire out if necessary.
If you have any questions about grilling and campfires, or any other fire or life safety questions, please contact the Saint Paul Fire Marshal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-228-6201.
Have a great – and fire safe – summer!