David Fortier

By David Fortier

June 1, 2021


Don’t play with fire this summer!

If the pandemic brings us to spend more time at home or at the cottage, this new reality comes with an increased number of fires. Open fires, barbecues, cigarettes, renovations, and even flower pots increase the risk of fire. Here are a few hot tips for a summer free of flames.

Flower pots and potting mixes: a hot topic!

Surprisingly, flower pots and potting mixes can quickly catch fire, especially during a drought. We therefore recommend moving these pots away from the house and, most importantly, that you never use them as ashtrays.

Cigarettes and smoking materials: be smart!

Cigarette butts and certain tobacco and cannabis residue can also spark a fire . . . with grave consequences. Every little action is important in preventing such grim scenarios.

  • Use a robust ashtray, with high edges, away from the wind.
  • Put out each butt with water, and designate a specific area for smokers.
  • Dump the ashtray’s contents into a metal container designed for such purposes, and place outdoors rather than inside your home or garage.

Caution: open fires

Whether you’re in the city or the country, there are some precautions you should take. This spring, SOPFEU prohibited open fires for several weeks as a result of the pandemic. Several municipalities require a permit and prohibit fires and fireworks during a drought.


  • Always have a portable fire extinguisher or functional water sprayer on hand.
  • Before leaving your fire, put it out with lots of water. Otherwise, after several hours have passed, the embers could reignite the flames.
  • An outdoor fireplace with a spark arrestor is very effective in reducing the risk.
  • Before lighting the fire, visit the SOPFEU and your municipality’s websites.

BBQ: words of wisdom

Summer + BBQ = Pure bliss! But propane still needs to be handled carefully. To do so, shut the valve between each use, and leave some space between the barbecue and surrounding structures. By way of precaution, never leave your barbecue unattended. In buildings where propane appliances are prohibited, opt for an electric model instead.

Electricity: not for everyone!

You might be handy, but keep in mind that the work of electricians is a specialty involving schooling and a great deal of experience. So for the sake of your health and that of your loved ones, hire a certified, insured professional.

In conclusion: don’t play with fire!

It’s true for everyone, young and old alike: a fire can ruin your summer and that of your neighbours, and have a negative impact on your family and pets. Rather than spending the summer with a claims adjuster, seeing your premiums go up, and suffering emotional trauma, use caution, and make sure you have functional fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

Finally, keep in mind that even the smallest of fires can cause major water damage after the firefighters arrive.

To read by the fire

We also suggest these reads:

Happy summer!

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