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Fall Fire Safety - Five Things to Know


It’s September – for many, the unofficial start to fall, with the official start on September 23.

The cooler weather can bring a welcome wave of activities, like bonfires, lighting candles, raking leaves and more. However, it’s important to keep fire safety top of mind when participating in all sorts of fall fun.In this blog, we’re sharing five things to pay attention to when it comes to fall fire safety.


1. Be mindful of your yard waste.iStock-497655882

Fall is of course known for colorful leaves – and these leaves can pile up fast. For safety reasons, it’s important to keep sidewalks and driveways clear of fallen leaves because they can become quite slick when wet.

If you need to rake your yard, make sure you never store leaves or other yard waste near your house, as this can pose a fire risk. If you choose to burn the leaves, first make sure this is allowed in your area. Sometimes, certain weather conditions will result in burn bans, or in some states or counties it’s illegal at all times. Many trash companies will pick up bags of raked leaves and take them away from you, but be sure to check with your provider.

2. Know the rules around bonfires.

iStock-1345411036Bonfires are a key part of fall for many people – but it’s important to practice fire safety at all times.

Before you light your fire, check the weather. Make sure there aren’t any high winds, and that there’s not a burn ban in effect in your area. Always make sure your bonfire is at least 25 feet away from any structures, buildings, trees or anything else that can catch fire. Never use accelerants, and never burn anything with chemicals, such as aerosols or paint. Keep children and pets at least ten feet from the fire – yes, even to make smores and such; have a grown-up do it for them - and be aware of loose-fitting clothing.

For a full list of bonfire guidelines, check out our blog on the topic.

3. Watch your fall décor.

Many people want their home to look festive for fall, and this can include dried cornstalks, crepe paper, dried flowers, wreaths, Halloween decorations and more. While fun and festive, they’re also fire risks if precautions aren’t taken.

Make sure that decorations aren’t near open flames or heat sources, including light bulbs. Check all strands of lights for wear and tear, and discard any that are damaged. All lights should also have been tested for safety and have a tag saying whether they’re rated for inside or outside use. In jack-o-lanterns or other décor, consider using battery candles instead of the real thing. Finally, make sure decorations aren’t blocking any exits to your house, including windows.

4. Follow candle safety guidelines.

Candles are beautiful and can make a home smell great, especially in fall. If you choose to light candles, make sure you’re doing so safely.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, up to 85% of candle fires could be avoided by following three simple rules:

  • Don’t leave a lit candle unattended
  • Never burn a candle on or near something that can potentially catch fire
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets

You should also burn candles in a well-ventilated room, and always extinguish them before leaving the room. Use a candle snuffer to put out a candle to avoid wax burns, and don’t move a candle until it’s completely cooled.

For more candle safety tips, check out our blog on the topic.

5. Practice safe cooking.

A final fall activity to consider when thinking about fire safety is cooking and baking. Whether you’re baking up an apple pie or cobbler, or pumpkin bread or muffins, there are some steps you can take to prevent a fire in the kitchen.

Keep anything flammable away from the stovetop and unplug your countertop appliances when not in use. Keep the stovetop clean of dust and grease, and never leave the kitchen while cooking. Keep pan handles inward when cooking, and keep kids and pets far away from the kitchen – at least three feet from the stove or oven at all times.

If a pan fire occurs, use a fire extinguisher, baking soda or a tight-fitting lid to put it out. Never use water or flour. If there’s a fire in the oven, turn it off and don’t open the door until the fire is completely out.

Fall is a time for family fun – not fires. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy all the festivities fall has to offer while practicing appropriate fire safety.

Want to learn even more fire safety tips? Check out our other blogs for tips for the home, office and more. You can read them all at

Tags: fire safety, weather safety, education