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Holiday Fire Safety Tips from the Fire Marshal

close up of meats and kebabs on a grill

With the Labor Day holiday approaching, many people find may find themselves with a long weekend, and spending time with family and friends may be on your agenda. If a grill is involved Buncombe County Fire Marshal Kevin Tipton hopes safety plays a part of your day.

Did you know

  • Grill fires cause an estimated $37 million in property loss each year.
  • Almost half of home grill fires happen between 5-8 p.m.
  • 58% of home grill fires occur during the months of May, June, July and August.
  • Patios, terraces, screened-in porches, and courtyards are leading home locations for grill fires.

Top safety tips

  • Only use grills outdoors, away from siding and deck railings.
  • Clean grills often and remove grease and/or fat build-up.
  • Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting.
  • Have a 3-foot safe-zone around grills and campfires. 
  • Keep kids and pets away from the grilling area.
  • Dispose of coals after they have cooled in a metal can.
  • Never leave grills, fire pits, and/or patio torches unattended.

Planning a recreational fire? Buncombe County Commissioners recently approved a new section of the Fire Prevention Ordinance for open burning. Highlights include:

Bonfires and Recreational Fire


  • Stacked with a machine and are taller than six feet 
  • Used as public events 
  • Doesn’t include agriculture clean-up
  • Must have fire department truck and personnel per the fire codes

Recreational Fires

  • Typically, less than six feet in height & not contained by a fire pit 
  • Attended as a public event & requires fire supervision

Exceptions and approved container and devices:

  • A backyard fire at a private residence does not require permits
  • An approved container is any device that keeps the fire from spreading at ground level 
  • Must be 15 feet from a structure if the fire is under three feet in diameter and 25 feet if the fire is larger than three feet in diameter
  • Must be constantly attended until it is extinguished or out 


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Article Information

Updated Aug 30, 2023 11:39 AM
Published Aug 30, 2023 11:34 AM