Top Causes of Turf Fires

Top Causes of Turf Fires

The warm and dry Colorado summers are one reason that so many people flock to the state. The downside of having long periods of sunshine is that so much of the grass around the state becomes quite parched. This dry turf can easily catch on fire, potentially causing major property damage in the process. To avoid damaging your home and risking damage to the surrounding Colorado wilderness, here are a few insights into the top causes of turf fires so that you can take steps to avoid these risks.

Cigarette Butts

A fresh cigarette butt in dry turf is an accident waiting to happen. Cigarette butts stay hot long after the rest of the cigarette is gone. Even cigarette ashes can be several hundred degrees in temperature until they burn themselves out. With this much heat, it’s only a matter of time until a cigarette in your yard causes a fire. That’s why it’s so important to provide ashtrays for any smokers so that you don’t have to worry about causing a fire. Try placing several around your backyard so that anyone who’s smoking doesn’t have to travel far to find a place for their cigarette ashes and butts.

Sparks from Backyard Fires

A great way to spend a cool Colorado evening is around a fire with friends and family. Before you start collecting firewood, though, keep in mind that an open fire can quickly wreak havoc on dry turf. Just a single spark from a fire can ignite an entire field of dry grass. When building a fire, make sure to do so only in a purpose-built fire pit. Also, make sure to keep a spark guard in place at all times while you’re using the fire pit. Finally, make sure that you have a couple of buckets of water nearby in case you see a spark floating away so that you can immediately extinguish any errant sparks. For even more safety, consider switching to a gas-fueled fire pit. These fire pits offer beauty and warmth without the cleanup or fire risk.


Celebrating America’s independence or another special event often calls for setting off a few of the small fireworks that are legal in
Colorado. However, if you’re close to dry turf, you may want to celebrate a different way. Fireworks, even small fountains and sparklers, are notorious for sending sparks far away from the firework itself. The risk of fire increases significantly if you opt to set off fireworks that leave the ground since these devices can travel far from where you launch them. Try to find a large paved area to set off your fireworks so that errant sparks have nothing to ignite. Additionally, make sure to extinguish all used fireworks in a bucket of water.


Just like other sources of open flame, barbecue grills present a fire risk when you’re grilling near dry turf. The risk is especially pronounced when you’re grilling fatty foods that cause the flames to grow quite large. Charcoal grills add another layer of risk because the ashes can stay hot for several hours after you’re done grilling. It’s vital to keep the lid closed on charcoal grills when you’re done grilling so that a gust of wind can’t carry the ashes away and start a fire. Additionally, it’s important to place your grill on a fire resistant material so that any ashes or hot grease that drop out of the grill won’t cause a problem.


Although lightning isn’t as pervasive when compared to some of the other fire risks on this list, it’s still something to keep an eye on during summer storms. If the forecast calls for potential lightning, it’s important to closely watch the radar to see if lightning is happening in your area so that you can react quickly to a strike on your property. If you have any tall metal poles or structures on your property, it’s good to consider lowering the profile of these items, if possible, to help reduce the risk of a strike. Additionally, you may want to consider turning on an outdoor spigot so that your hose is ready to go if you notice a fire happening in your yard.

Hot Engines

When internal combustion engines operate, they produce a lot of heat. If one of the components of a hot engine comes in contact with dry grass, it’s only a matter of time until a fire starts. Basic fire safety requires that you avoid leaving recently used power equipment anywhere near dry turf. This includes lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, and anything else with a gas engine. The most important engine to pay attention to is the engine in your car. Rather than parking your car in your yard, make sure to park on a paved or graveled surface at all times during the dry season.

The Safety of Artificial Turf

With all this talk of turf fires, it might seem like you can’t have any fun outside during the summer. However, high-quality artificial turf from Dominion Turf is a game-changer when it comes to summer fire safety. Although artificial turf can melt when exposed to extreme heat, it will not catch fire. This is because artificial turf is made from non-flammable materials and is laid over sand that serves as a natural fire retardant. Together, these two characteristics make for a very safe environment for you and your family with the added benefit that artificial turf doesn’t turn brown when there’s no rain.

Take Precautions

While artificial turf is a great solution to the summer fire problem, there won’t be artificial turf everywhere you travel. That’s why it’s vital to understand the risks and then take precautions to minimize those risks. By doing so, you can help to prevent injuries and protect the natural beauty of Colorado for future generations.