SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Where there's flames, there's fire. The State Fire Marshal's Office wants to remind people to practice safe grilling techniques.
The bureau chief of operations for the state fire marshal, Dale Simpson, says July is actually the peak month for fire departments to respond to grill fires.
"It's that time of year where we get together, usually around the fourth, vacations, getting away for the weekend ... and outdoor grilling is part of that," Simpson said.
In the United States, more than 10,000 house fires are started by a grill each year. These fires result in 19,000 injuries, the most common being thermal burns.
"We also see third-degree burns, tissue loss, finger loss and even life loss," Simpson said.
The division chief with the Springfield Fire Department, Ed Canny, says the department responds to grill fires every year.
"It's a common fire that's easily preventable," Canny said.
Officials say some of the biggest things to remember are to always clean your grill and double check to see if charcoal coals are cool before disposing of them.
"We've seen fires where people have the grill on the deck, and they take embers and dump them on the side of the deck, which is right under the wood," Canny said. "Those hot embers sit there and smolder, and overnight it catches the deck on fire, which can then catch the house on fire."
Other tips include making sure grills are a minimum of three feet away from homes, decks and overhead tree branches.
"If you're too close to the house or garage, and it has vinyl siding, vinyl siding is made out of oil, it doesn't even have to be a flame touching it to catch fire," Simpson said. "Once something burns, you can't get it back. You can buy another grill, another house, but if you lose a hand or a kid, it doesn't come back."