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How to Prevent Outdoor Fire Hazards

October is National Fire Prevention Month, an opportunity to raise awareness about fire hazards in and around our homes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) began celebrating a special fire prevention week in October 1922 to commemorate a historic fire and remind homeowners about safety guidelines. The 2018 campaign for Fire Prevention Week is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. A fire can be anywhere.”

How to Prevent Outdoor Fire Hazards

Our team at American Custom Contractors wants to contribute to fire safety awareness by educating our customers about fire hazards right outside their homes. Here is our guide on how to prevent outdoor fire hazards.


According to the NFPA, An average of 8,800 home fires involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues each year. While the October chill might not have you daydreaming of burgers and hotdogs outdoors any time soon, it is still important to keep grill safety tips in mind for the spring and summer.

  • Only use grills on flat ground in open spaces.
  • Keep grills away from your house and do not grill underneath porches, patios, tents, or tree branches.
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended.
  • Keep cigarettes, matches, candles, or any other open flames away from grills.

Outdoor Fire Pits and Fireplaces

The NFPA says outdoor fire pits and fireplaces cause thousands of grass and brush fires annually. While these can be a charming addition to your back yard, it is essential to remember to use them safely. Roast marshmallows or cozy up beside the hearth this fall and winter with these safety tips in mind.

  • Ensure you have installed proper ventilation along with your outdoor fireplace.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and make sure you and your whole family know how to use it correctly.
  • Keep debris and waste away from your fire pit or fireplace.
  • Prune nearby trees and bushes regularly.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away.
  • Never leave an outdoor fire unattended.
  • Use properly sized logs that fit inside your fire pit or fireplace.
  • Only burn intended fuels (no newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, or trash for kindling).
  • Always extinguish your fire when you turn in for the night.


Candles can add lots of character to your outdoor dining ambiance. But if you leave them too close to flammable materials, they can quickly turn into your worst nightmare. According to the NFPA, this is how more than half of all candle fires start. Here are some tips for using candles outdoors safely.

  • Keep burning candles within your sight. Extinguish them if you go back inside.
  • Never burn a candle beside anything remotely flammable (cloth or paper napkins, decorations, grass, bushes, etc.).
  • Do not place candles where they could easily be knocked over.
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
  • Keep the pooled wax free of wick trimmings or any other debris.
  • Place candles at least three inches apart from each other.


Generally, it is better to enjoy watching a professional fireworks display instead of lighting them up yourself. If your family does choose to set off some fireworks of your own, do it as safely as possible to avoid damaging your home or any of your neighbors’ property. Here are the key safety rules for using fireworks.

  • Obey all local laws on use of fireworks. They were created to keep people and homes safe.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings. If you live in the country, this is no problem. If you live in the suburbs, drive out of town for firework fun.
  • Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly.
  • Always have a bucket of water and a working hose on hand.
  • Dispose of fireworks by getting them thoroughly wet and placing them inside a metal trash can away from buildings or flammable materials until the next day.

We hope these safety tips help you better understand how to prevent outdoor fire hazards.

Celebrate National Fire Prevention Month with us by using grills, candles, fire pits, fireplaces, and fireworks responsibly.

Do you need roof repair or replacement in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington D.C.? Our team of home exterior experts at American Custom Contractors can help. Give us a call at (301) 327-2013.

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