Being careful this barbecue season - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Being careful this barbecue season

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A backyard barbecue turns into a $10,000 bill!

Shortly after midnight, a South Fargo man saw flames out his porch sliding doors and realized he forgot to turn off the propane tank on his grill.

The Fargo Fire Department says it is the season's first grill-related house fire. So as we're firing up this spring, the Department says to be careful.

"We want to make sure when we're getting those things ready we're being smart about where we put them and using a little common sense," says Fire Captain Ryan Viergutz.

Here are some reminders: there aren't any codes about grills on a private residence, but for apartments that allow them, the grill has to be at least ten feet away- any closer and the grill cannot be charcoal, on, near or touching anything flammable and it has to fit certain specifications.

"You are allowed to use a propane grill or a propane cooking device as long as it's run by a 20-pound cylinder or smaller," he says.

The Fargo Fire Department recommends at least three feet between your grill and anything flammable.

"That would include the siding on your house, any type of decking or railing material that you may want to have it sit on. We really recommend a patio is best," says Viergutz.

They say if you have your grill up on a deck, make sure you have something non-flammable underneath it to keep hazardous hot embers or oil from reaching dry leaves and grass...which we have a lot of right now.

"In our prairies and fields once we start seeing our roadways get green by the roadside, that's a real good indication that we have some fresh, new growth that isn't going to be so apt to start on fire," says Valley News Live Chief Meteorologist Hutch Johnson.

Experts say to keep at least one person manning the grill, because those hot embers can get blown around.

"If the wind picks them up and it gets into some of this dry grass, we could have a problem real fast," he says.

The Fire Department says to make sure your propane is completely turned off and your grill is cool to the touch before putting the cover on.

They say it's important to have a garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby just in case it does start on fire and call 9-1-1 as soon as you think a fire might be too much for you to handle.

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