Grilling Safety Tips


Summer fun often includes cooking and eating outdoors with family and friends. Residents in the Idlewild response area who want to share in this favorite pastime must take special precautions. Using portable grills in some instances is unsafe and against the law.

Section 504.8 of the North Carolina State Fire Prevention code prohibits outdoor grilling within 10 feet vertically and horizontally of combustible materials or portions of all occupancies except one and two family dwellings and townhouses.

The code applies to charcoal grills, propane gas grills, natural gas grills, hibachis, smokers, or any appliance which uses an open flame to cook. These regulations apply only when grills are in use. The storage of grills when they are not in use, or when they're cool and not subject to creating a fire hazard, is not regulated by this requirement. In addition, we'd like to offer the following clarifications:

  • These regulations also apply to portable electric grills if the grill contains loose heat storage material such as lava rock.
  • The storage of grills with propane tanks having water capacity greater than 2-1/2 pounds is permitted only on decks, porches and patios at ground level or those which have exterior stairs for access. This is a National Fire Protection Association standard requirement.
  • The 10 feet of clearance also applies to combustible materials such as pine straw, pine bark, and other combustible landscaping materials.
  • The regulations do not apply to fixed grills, but strict attention should be paid to the grill instructions to insure that required clearances are maintained.

Citations will be issued to violators of this regulation. Repeat offenders are subject to punishment by imprisonment not to exceed 30 days or fines not more than $500. Each day that the violation continues is deemed a separate offense.


Grilling Tips:
  • Never use charcoal lighter fluid on a burning fire.
  • Leave the grill hood open until ignition occurs when lighting gas grills.
  • Don't grill near combustible materials such as pine needles or leaves.
  • Keep a fire extinguishers or charged garden hose accessible.
  • Always shut off valves to propane tanks when not in use.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations.