As Memorial Day & Summer Months Approach, IFSA Offers Tips to Prevent Fires & Injuries

Often considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day weekend typically includes a lot of celebrations and cookouts, often with outdoor grilling and backyard gatherings. As the holiday and summer months near, the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA) reminds everyone to celebrate safely by following basic safety tips and precautions.

“As we head towards the summer months, many people will look to grilling, cookouts, and other outdoor gatherings to enjoy the warm weather. There are some very simple steps to ensure that family members and guests remain safe from fire or burns while enjoying everything that the warm weather brings,” said IFSA President and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District Chief James Kreher.

“It is important to review basic safety tips to ensure grillers and backyard enthusiasts are prepared to keep their family and guests safe from any unintentional burn injuries or fire-relate incidents,” said Philip Zaleski, Executive Director of the IFSA. “Identifying firesafe locations for grills, firepits, and outdoor burning areas is crucial. They should be safe distances from your home and other areas that can burn.”

Outdoor Burn Prevention Tips:

  • Supervise children and pets while the campfire/firepit is burning
  • Make a 3-foot “Kid-Free Zone” around the campfire/firepit
  • Always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel with dirt or sand nearby to put the fire out
  • Apply water to all coals or remaining flames, making sure that there is no heat, glow, or flame remaining
  • Never leave the fire unattended, even for a short period of time

Grilling Safety Tips:

  • Closely monitor food cooking on the grill
  • Turn the grill off promptly when done cooking and let it cool completely before returning it to its original location
  • Grills should remain at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including deck railings, overhanging branches, and homes
  • If using starter fluid to ignite charcoals, only use charcoal starter fluid – never use other flammable liquids

Firepit and Outdoor Burning Tips:

  • Check with your fire department or local municipality for any restrictions before starting an open-air fire, recreational fire, or outdoor cooking fire
  • When allowed, fires such as bonfires or yard waste fires need to be at least 50 feet from anything that can burn
  • Campfires need to be at least 25 feet away from any structure that can burn
  • Only use fire pits outdoors and at least 10 feet away from anything that can burn

Firepits and campfires can add ambiance to outdoor events and can be done safely by taking these easy-to-follow precautions.

To learn more about outdoor fires and other fire safety and burn prevention information to protect your family and home, visit the IFSA website at