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!

Fire Hazards of Disposable Barbecues

The Hidden Fire Hazards of Disposable Barbecues

As the sun shines and the days grow warmer, many of us are eager to head outdoors and enjoy a good barbecue. With their convenience and portability, disposable barbecues have become a popular choice for picnics, beach outings, and camping trips. However, these seemingly innocuous devices carry significant fire risks that often go overlooked. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fire dangers associated with disposable barbecues and provide tips on how to enjoy your outdoor cooking safely.

The Appeal of Disposable Barbecues

Disposable barbecues are attractive because they are:

– Convenient: Pre-packed with charcoal, they are easy to use and require minimal setup.

– Portable: Lightweight and compact, they are ideal for spontaneous outings.

– Inexpensive: Generally cheaper than traditional barbecues, making them accessible to many.

However, these benefits come with serious fire risks that must be understood and mitigated.

The Fire Dangers

1. High Heat and Inadequate Containment:

Disposable barbecues generate high temperatures but lack the robust containment systems of traditional grills. This makes them prone to tipping over or having hot coals escape, which can ignite nearby flammable materials.

2. Prolonged Cooling Time:

After use, disposable barbecues remain hot for several hours. Many people mistakenly believe they can be disposed of immediately after cooking, leading to incidents where hot coals ignite trash bins or dry grass.

3. Lack of Stability:

Disposable barbecues are often placed on uneven or unstable surfaces. A slight bump or gust of wind can cause them to topple, scattering hot coals and starting fires.

4. Improper Disposal:

Even when cooled, the remnants of a disposable barbecue can cause fires if not disposed of correctly. Placing them in plastic bins or leaving them in areas with dry vegetation can lead to unintentional fires.

5. Environmental Factors:

Dry and windy conditions significantly increase the risk of fires. Sparks or embers from a disposable barbecue can easily be carried to nearby vegetation, igniting a blaze.

Real-World Examples

Unfortunately, the dangers of disposable barbecues are not just theoretical. There have been numerous incidents where improper use or disposal of these barbecues has led to significant fires:

– Forest Fires: There have been instances where disposable barbecues have caused large forest fires, leading to extensive environmental damage and costly firefighting efforts.

– Property Damage: Campgrounds and public parks have suffered property damage due to fires started by disposable barbecues.

– Personal Injury: Individuals have sustained burns and other injuries from mishandling these devices or from fires that they started.

Safety Tips for Using Disposable Barbecues

To enjoy the convenience of disposable barbecues without compromising safety, follow these guidelines:

1. Choose Your Location Wisely:

Use disposable barbecues on stable, non-flammable surfaces such as concrete or metal grills provided in parks. Avoid using them on dry grass, wooden tables, or any area where embers could catch fire.

2. Monitor Constantly:

Never leave a lit barbecue unattended. Keep an eye on children and pets to prevent accidental knocks or spills.

3. Have a Fire Extinguisher or Water Source Ready:

Always have a bucket of water, sand, or a fire extinguisher nearby to douse any unintended flames quickly.

4. Allow Proper Cooling Time:

Let the barbecue cool completely before attempting to dispose of it. This can take several hours. Check the temperature of the coals before handling.

5. Dispose of Responsibly:

Once cool, wrap the barbecue securely in aluminium foil to contain any remaining embers, and dispose of it in a designated metal trash bin.

6. Be Mindful of Environmental Conditions:

Avoid using disposable barbecues on windy days or during dry spells when the risk of wildfires is heightened.


While disposable barbecues offer convenience and the joy of outdoor cooking, it’s crucial to be aware of and mitigate the fire risks they pose. By following safety guidelines and exercising caution, you can enjoy your barbecue while protecting yourself, others, and the environment from the dangers of fire. Remember, a little awareness and preparation can go a long way in ensuring that your outdoor adventures are both fun and safe.