How Do Grease Fires Start?

Grease fires start when oil or grease on a structure, such as a stove or oven, achieves a temperature hot enough to ignite. Grease fires quickly spread because the primary source of fuel, the grease, can be easily splashed, as it is a liquid and burns very hot.

To prevent a grease fire, the Rocky Mountain Fire Department warns to stay nearby when cooking. Unattended cooking is one of the primary causes of grease fires in the kitchen.

When a grease fire ignites, avoid putting flour or sugar on the flames; this only enhances the power of the flames. In addition, do not put water on a grease fire, as water causes burning grease to splash and spread. To ensure safety, turn off the burner, evacuate the area and call emergency services if the fire spreads.

If the flames have not spread, it may be possible to cover a grease fire contained in a pan with a pan lid. Pouring baking soda on a grease fire may also decrease the flames, though it may be necessary to use a large amount of baking soda to put out the fire.

A dry chemical fire extinguisher can also be used to distinguish a grease fire. However, keep in mind that the kitchen and food are contaminated after use.