With the weather heating up, lots of people are firing up their grills, but many don’t realize the potential hazards that can come with barbecuing.

Over the last five years, the number of barbecue fires has risen in British Columbia. There were 26 in 2011 and that number rose to 41 in 2015. There have been 166 in total since 2011, which caused more than $296 million worth of damage.

"It's more often the product that's on the grill that's caused the fire not anything to do with a defective barbecue,” said Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire & Rescue Service.

Dirty grills, old tanks and worn out hoses are all potential hazards.

"You're looking for a propane tank that's in good visual condition,” Gormick said.

Users should make sure there are no large patches of rust on their tanks and keep them clean. The tanks should also come with a date stamp. After five years, it’s recommended that you change them as well as check the connections and hoses. A loose connection or a worn hose can lead to a propane fire.

Those hoping to do some summer grilling should also make sure they keep their grill surfaces clean, which will also reduce the risk of fire. Grills should also be kept away from any combustible sources. In Vancouver, that distance is a minimum of three metres from any combustible product or surface.

The Canadian Propane Association recommends looking for leaks in your propane line at the beginning of the grilling season. You can check for leaks by brushing a soapy liquid solution or leak detector around the connections. Bubbles would indicate a leak. The barbecue lid should always be open before lighting. When shutting down the grill, turn off the service valve to make sure all the propane is out of the hose. Then turn off the burner controls.