Your Grill Keeps Catching On Fire? Do This Now!

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Every summer, people all over the country light up their grills for cookouts with family and friends. 

For some, this is a time-honored tradition that’s been passed down for generations. 

But for others, it can be a bit of a mystery, especially if your grill keeps catching on fire! Don’t worry though, we’re here to help! 

If you’ve been struggling with a grill that keeps catching on fire, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s a common problem that many people face. 

But don’t worry,  there is a solution. Let’s chat about the types of grill fires that happen and what you can do to make your grill less prone to catching on fire. You’ll be glad you did!

Photo by Gonzalo Guzman on

Why Does My Grill Keep Catching on Fire?

Your grill is catching fire because it has not been properly cleaned between uses. 

As you cook, grease drops down and eventually builds up to unsafe levels that ignite once the grill gets hot

Putting it out once wont stop it, it will continue unless you follow the steps in this guide. 

What Is The Difference Between a Grill Fire and a Grill Flare Up?

Who would have thought about the semantics, but, you should know, a fire on a grill is different from a flare-up. 

A flare-up on a grill is when the flames suddenly get high and out of control. It’s usually caused by grease building up on the grates and catching fire. 

Flare-ups can be dangerous because they can easily spread to the food, and they can also be hard to put out. 

If you’re having a flare-up, it’s best to move the food off of the grill and turn off the gas. 

Once the flames have died down, you can clean the grates and start grilling again. Just be sure to keep an eye on the food so it doesn’t burn. 

A fire is when the whole grill is engulfed in flames and it’s not just localized to one spot. 

Fires can be caused by grease, but they can also be caused by something else like charcoal getting too hot. If your grill is on fire, it’s best to call the fire department and let them handle it. 

Don’t try to put it out yourself since it could be dangerous. So, to sum up, a flare-up is when the flames get high and uncontrolled in one spot while a fire is when the whole grill is on fire. 

How Do I Know When A Grease Fire Will Start?

You will know a grease fire is about to start when your grill is in the perfect combination of heat and grease build-up. 

For example, your grill can reach temps of up to 800 degrees or more, that’s pretty hot! Grease can ignite at 400 degrees. 

You don’t need to be a math expert to realize that this combination of heat and fuel (grease) is going to start a fire. 

So, if you have not cleaned your grill in months and you crank that grill up, you can bet you are inviting an unwanted fire friend to the backyard party. Bummer. 

Another quick tip, if you have the lid closed and you see the temp rising faster than normal, chances are, a small fire is brewing below the grill grates and you have a small window to turn the gas off and start fixing the issue. 

What Parts of The Grill Cause A Fire?

Your grill, regardless of style, has certain areas that tend to build up food and grease leading to fires. 

To start, your grill has grill grates (where you set your food), and as the food cooks, it builds up grease and food bits that stick to the grill grates. 

Then, you have the area below the grill grates near where the flames come out on a gas grill for example. 

This area is usually the culprit of true gas grill fires. Cooking once or twice as grease drips down is not too big of a deal. 

BUT, if you cook for months (or years) and never deep clean your grill, you will likely have a lot of built up food and grease. 

Once your grill starts to get hot, that grease and food is just begging to ignite. 

How Do You Stop A Grill From Catching Fire?

One of the most common causes of grill fires is built-up grease and debris. When grilling, it’s important to clean the grate before you start cooking. 

This will help to prevent food from sticking, and it will also reduce the risk of a grease fire.

In addition, you should clean your grill at least once a month to remove any build-up of grease and debris. 

This should remove any remaining residue and help to prevent future fires.

How To Deep Clean A Grill (Step-By-Step)

Ok, you get it, we need to clean that grill! This step-by-step process of grill cleaning is meant for gas grills, but this should work for most any grill out there. 

Items You Will Need:

  1. Heavy Duty Grease Remover
  2. Scouring Pads
  3. Grill Wire Brush
  4. Cleaning Gloves
  5. Water Hose
  6. Paper Towels or Shop Rags
  7. Shop Vacuum
  • Step 1: Ensure your Grill is off and Gas Disconnected. 
  • Step 2: Scrape grill grates with your grill wire brush and remove the grill grates to be set aside.
  • Step 3: Scrape off the Heat Deflectors and remove them, setting them with the grill grates. 
  • Step 4: Remove the grease traps or trays and empty contents into trash, then set the tray with the grates and deflectors. 
  • Step 5: Starting top to bottom, use a wire brush or scouring pad to brush off any loose debris.
  • Step 6: Spray your grill and grill parts with degreaser and allow it to soak and penetrate the grease build-up. You should spray this on all parts coated in grease, including those hard to reach parts. 
  • Step 7: Grab a beer
  • Step 8: Spray the grill down with your hose and allow the grease to run off. 
  • Step 9: Use your brush or scouring pad to remove the more stubborn areas that didn’t come off with the water. 
  • Step 10: Ensure all areas are clean and re-assemble. 
  • Step 11: Run the grill on high heat to burn off any excess chemicals or degreaser before using your actual food on it. 

What Do Do If Your Grill Catches Fire (Step-By-Step)

Are we panicking yet? Dont, you can keep a level head and put out your grill fire in most cases. 

However, if the scene is unsafe or you do not feel comfortable putting out the fire, ensure all people are out of the danger area of the fire and call your local fire department for professional assistance. 

Ok, this is how you put out a grill fire:

  • Step 1: Close the lid. By removing the majority of oxygen from the grill, you will limit a fire’s growth potential. 
  • Step 2: Immediately turn off the gas. We definitely do not want to feed gas to an active fire. 
  • Step 3: Back Away from the grill and go get your household fire extinguisher. 
  • ***Do NOT use a water hose as water makes a grease fire much worse!
  • Step 4: Monitor the fire and ensure it is decreasing with the lid closed and gas turned off.
  • Step 5: Use a chemical based fire extinguisher to put the fire out. If it seems like it is not working, it’s time to back away and call the fire department. 

Can I Cook On My Grill Once The Fire is Put Out?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that once the fire is put out, they can immediately start cooking on the grill again. However, this is not the case. 

You should always clean your grill before using it again to remove the excess build-up of grease. 

Otherwise, you run the danger of another fire happening. The build-up of grease can also cause your food to stick to the grill, making it difficult to clean and puts your meal at risk for contamination. 

So next time you’re finished grilling for the night, take a few minutes to clean your grill before calling it quits. Your stomach (and fire department) will thank you later.

Can I Use My Grill Right After A Flare-up?

A lot of first-time grillers avoid grilling because they’re worried about flare-ups. 

But the truth is, flare-ups are completely normal, they happen to everyone, even the most experienced grillers. 

Flare-ups occur when grease and fat from your food drips down onto the hot coals, causing a sudden burst of flames. 

While it may look dangerous, a flare-up is actually no cause for alarm. The fire will quickly die down on its own, and you can continue cooking as usual. 

However, if you find that you’re experiencing frequent flare-ups, it’s likely because there’s too much grease build-up on your grill. 

In this case, it’s best to do a deep clean before you start cooking again. This will help to prevent any future fires and ensure that your food is safe to eat.

Grilling Safety Tips

Here is a helpful grilling safety infographic from FEMA to assist you in some quick, actionable safety tips to remember when grilling. 


Final Word

It’s clear that taking care of your grill is important if you want to avoid fires and keep your food tasting delicious.

By properly cleaning and maintaining your grill, you can ensure years of backyard cooking bliss. Grill maintenance doesn’t have to be a daunting task – it just takes a little bit of time and effort each season.

Follow these simple tips, and your grill will stay in great shape all year long! Are you ready to get grilling?