Using Fire Extinguishers for Barbeques

Mastering Fire Safety: Using Fire Extinguishers for Barbeques and Bonfires

Summer is synonymous with barbeques and bonfires, activities that bring joy, warmth, and mouthwatering meals. However, these outdoor delights come with an element of risk—fire hazards. Understanding how to safely extinguish a fire can make the difference between a minor incident and a potential disaster. This blog post will guide you through the essentials of using fire extinguishers for different types of barbeques and outside bonfires, ensuring your gatherings remain safe and enjoyable.

Types of Fires and Fire Extinguishers

Before diving into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand the types of fires and the corresponding fire extinguishers:

  • Class A: fires involving ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, and cloth.
  • Class B: fires involving flammable liquids.
  • Class C: fires involving flammable gases.
  • Class D: fires involving combustible metals.
  • Electrical: not their own class. Occur when live electrical equipment is involved in a fire.
  • Class F: fires involving cooking oils or fats.

Each class of fire requires a specific type of extinguisher:

  • Water Extinguishers (Class A)
  • Foam Extinguishers (Class A, B)
  • Dry Powder Extinguishers (Class A, B, C, Electrical)
  • CO2 Extinguishers (Class B, Electrical)
  • Wet Chemical Extinguishers (Class A, F)

Fire Safety for Barbeques

1. Charcoal Barbeques

– Fire Type: Class A (Charcoal)

– Extinguisher: Water or Foam Extinguishers are effective for extinguishing charcoal fires. Water cools down the embers, while foam smothers the flames and prevents re-ignition.

– Tip: Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby. Ensure the barbeque is completely cooled before disposing of the ashes.

2. Gas Barbeques

– Fire Type: Class C (Butane or Propane)

– Extinguisher: Dry Powder Extinguishers are best for gas fires. Dry powder interrupts the chemical reaction of the fire, helping to put it out.

– Tip: Turn off the gas supply if it is safe to do so before using the extinguisher. Regularly check for gas leaks in hoses and connections.

3. Electric Barbeques

– Fire Type: Electrical Fires

– Extinguisher: CO2 Extinguishers are preferred for electrical fires as they do not leave any residue that could damage electrical components.

– Tip: Disconnect the power source if possible before using the extinguisher. Avoid using water or foam extinguishers to prevent electric shock.

Fire Safety for Bonfires

1. Wood Bonfires

– Fire Type: Class A (Wood and Paper)

– Extinguisher: Water or Foam Extinguishers are suitable for bonfires. Water can douse the flames, while foam can cover the burning material, cutting off the oxygen supply.

– Tip: Maintain a safe distance from structures and trees. Keep a water source like a hose or buckets of water readily available.

2. Rubbish or Debris Bonfires

– Fire Type: Class A (Mixed Combustibles)

– Extinguisher: Dry Powder Extinguishers can handle the varied materials in trash fires. They work by forming a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen.

– Tip: Avoid burning materials that can produce toxic fumes. Never leave the fire unattended and ensure it is fully extinguished before leaving the site.

General Safety Tips

– Placement: Always position your barbeque or bonfire in a clear, open area away from flammable materials.

– Wind Conditions: Be mindful of wind direction and strength. Avoid lighting fires in strong winds.

– Supervision: Never leave a barbeque or bonfire unattended. Assign someone to watch the fire at all times.

– Extinguisher Access: Ensure fire extinguishers are easily accessible and that everyone knows their location and how to use them.

– Emergency Numbers: Keep a phone nearby to call emergency services if a fire gets out of control.


Enjoying barbeques and bonfires is a cherished summer activity. Still, it’s vital to prioritise safety. By understanding the types of fires and the appropriate extinguishers, you can act quickly and effectively in an emergency. Equip your outdoor gatherings with the right fire safety tools, stay vigilant, and you can focus on having fun with peace of mind. 

Stay safe, and happy grilling!