Why Did My Traeger Catch Fire? – 2 Primary Reasons and 3 Easy Solutions

why traeger grill catches fire
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When you work with any pellet grill such as Traeger grill, there is always some chance of grill catching fire accidently.

And this is one of the most common questions among Traeger owners.

Why does the Trager grill catch fire on some occasions?

There are 2 main reasons behind the accidental fire in your Traeger grill.

The first primary reason is the large buildup of pellets in the firepot.

And the second main reason is excessive accumulation of grease on the drip tray.

Regular cleaning of the internal and external parts of your grill will prevent the accumulation of grease on the drip tray.

Cleaning of the fire pot will also prevent regular buildup of ashes which in turn will prevent the irregular buildup of wood pellets inside the fire pot.

Trager grills and smokers are safe for the most part, but can catch on fire at times due to the above 2 reasons primarily.

Let’s dig deeper into why Traeger appliances catch fire, and how to prevent fires in a Traeger smoker. 

Table of Contents

Is There Supposed to be a Fire in My Traeger Grill?

This question can also be asked as do Traeger grills start on fire.

And the answer to the above question is “Yes”.

Yes, Traeger grills are supposed to start with a burning of the wood pellets which means these grills start with a fire.

Traeger grills are open flame appliances.

This means that they use wood pellets via an out of sight flame to generate heat.

These grills are fitted with a computerized control board and an electric igniter, and generate heat via burning of wood pellets.

After the pellets start to burn, the control board inside the grill regulates the temperature.

After that, it starts delivering air to the internal fire to keep the pellets lit till the cooking is done.

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8 Simple Solutions to Increase the Traeger Grill Temperature

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Are Traeger Pellets Supposed to Catch Fire?

Traeger pellets or any other wood pellets are basically fossil fuel that is made by nature.

Hence, they are prone to catch fire when exposed to extreme heat or fire.

Wood pellet fires are usually caused due to a large buildup of pellets in the firepot.

A pellet fire is caused when there is excess buildup of pellets in the firepot and they are ignited with the help of electric igniter in the grill.

Source: Traeger.com

2 Primary Reasons that Cause Traeger Grill to Catch Fire

There can be multiple reasons for Traeger grills to catch fire.

I will only explain 2 main reasons here because majority of accidental fire incidents happen with your Traeger grill because of them only.

Reason 1: Excessive Buildup of Wood Pellets in the Firepot

Traeger grills usually catch fires when there’s an overflow of pellets in the firepot.

Fire is caused when the pellets in and around the firepot ignite.

This excessive buildup of pellets happens only because of over accumulation of ash inside the firepot.

There is another possible reason for this is the malfunction in the grill which may cause irregular temperature control.

When you do not clean and maintain your Traeger grill properly, then excessive ash buildup happens inside the firepot.

It leads to irregular burning of wood pellets that are stored inside the fire pot.

The irregular cooking temperature of the grill is also responsible in burning excessive pellets which causes grill to catch the fire.

Reason 2: Excessive Accumulation of Grease on the Grill’s Drip Tray

Grease fires are very common in all types of grills including pellet smokers.

They generally start at the drip tray and spread from there, and are caused by the grease buildup inside the tray.

Grease fires are hot and vicious and can be difficult to contain in the heat of the moment.

Your Traeger smoker is designed to keep flames away from the drip tray, but grease buildup can reduce this safety barrier.

The drip tray which is present just below the grill grates, usually stores all types of food drippings and grease.

There is usually excess accumulation of grease even when you smoke a brisket just for 12 hours.

When you don’t clean the drip tray and remove excess grease from it, then the accidental fire can happen when the grill temperature reaches 450 degrees F.

To prevent this fire, you need to regularly clean the drip tray and remove all the excess accumulation of grease and food drippings.

3 Easy Solutions to Prevent Fire in a Traeger Grill

Of course, we can certainly prevent accidental fires happening with your Traeger grill with the following 3 simple solutions.

Solution 1: Use Only Dry Wood Pellets

When you use moist wood pellets for your Traeger grill, they tend to cluster in one spot inside the firepot.

In that case, what happens is during the grilling time, the Traeger auger feeds an excessive amount of wood pellets in the firepot.

This can ignite excessive fire inside the grill.

To prevent this issue from happening, you need to use only the dry and good quality wood pellets for your Traeger grill.

I highly recommend to use company made Trager grill wood pellets for your grill.

They are made from all-natural hardwood material and are completely dry in nature.

This makes cooking process a lot easier with your Traeger grill and you can avoid over intake of wood pellets in the firepot.

Solution 2: Check Owner’s Manual for Proper Startup Procedure

There are many ways to prevent Traeger grill fires, starting with double-checking the firepot before starting the grill/smoker to ensure that it’s not overflowing with ash or pellets.

Here, I want to strongly recommend you to check your Traeger grill owner’s manual for the correct startup procedures for your respective smoker model.

Improper start-ups can cause more pellets to flow into the firepot, and also affect the grilling hours.

It’s also recommended that you store your pellets in an airtight pellet storage bucket.

This will keep them dry all the time and thus prevent over intake of wood pellets inside the firepot.

Solution 3: Keep Your Drip Tray Clean All the Time

The best way to prevent a grease fire in your Traeger smoker is by cleaning your smoker after each use.

Take note that you may have to clean more often if you cook greasier foods often such as bacon or other types of fatty cuts of meat.

Another area you need to pay attention to when using your smoker is grease pooling, which is the area where the grease accumulates instead of flowing out into the proper channels.

To solve grease pooling issues, check to ensure that the drip tray or drip tray liner is placed properly and that it’s free from any damage.

Check the tinfoil to ensure that it’s flush with the drip tray.

To prevent over greasing your drip tray, it is highly important that you clean it regularly and use a reliable drip tray liner.

As already explained above, the over accumulation of food drippings and grease over the drip tray causes accidental fires in your Traeger grill.

This is why you need to use a good quality drip tray liner for your Traeger grill drip tray.

Also, it is important to change the drip tray liner after every heavy meat grilling session.

I recommend to change the drip tray liner after 1-2 cooking sessions which involve lot of meat grilling.

4 Steps to Follow to Put out an Accidental Fire in a Traeger Grill

If there’s an accidental fire in your Traeger grill, the first thing you need to do is to remain calm and not to panic in that situation.

With the following steps, you an put out the accidental fire happened with your Traeger grill for sure.

Just follow the below mentioned steps whenever your grill catches fire.

Step 1: Switch Off Your Traeger Grill First

The first thing you need to do in this situation is to unplug the smoker or your Traeger grill and cut off the power first.

Then move the grill away from any flammable objects.

Give some time for the fire to extinguish on its own.

Don’t use or throw any water on it to put the fire out.

As you cut off the power source, the smoker or a grill will stop feeding the pellets automatically.

This will help the fire to go out eventually on its own.

Step 2: Close the Lid of Your Traeger Grill

Oxygen is the biggest fuel to the fire.

Therefore, always try to reduce the oxygen supply to the fire source if you want to extinguish the accidental fire in your grill.

Yes, you can do it in your grill by simply keeping its lid closed.

When you close the smoker’s lid, the fire will eventually go out on its own due to lack of oxygen supply.

Step 3: Move the Grill Away from Fire Hazardous Objects

The next important step you need to follow is to move your Traeger grill away from inflammable objects that are present nearby.

After you cut off the power and close the lid, your grill takes some time to extinguish the fire on its own.

In that time period, you don’t want any flammable objects to be present near the grill and prevent the fire to spread on to those objects.

That is why it is important to decide the right location in the backyard where you can store your Traeger grill.

This will certainly prevent the fire to spread to other objects when the grill catches accidental fire.

Step 4: Use a Fire Extinguisher or a Blanket to Smother the fire

If after following the above steps, the fire is not extinguished on its own, then follow this last step.

You can use a fire extinguisher or a fireproof blanket to smother the fire.

You can also use a good amount of baking soda or salt to smother a Trager grill fire.

However, after using baking soda or salt, you will have to clean your grill after the flames have subsided.

3 Steps to Clean a Traeger Grill After Fire Accident

Fire in your Traeger grill is an unexpected occurrence and can leave you with a big mess to clean up.

But there’s no need to break a sweat just yet because there are several ways to efficiently clean your Traeger grill after a fire.

Step 1: Turn Your Traeger Grill on High 

Fire up your Traeger, and let it run for roughly 15 minutes to 20 minutes to burn off any grease.

Next, completely turn off your Traeger grill and let it become cool.

After that, use a compatible Traeger grill brush to scrape off any stuck grease, char, and debris collected on the internal components such as auger, grill grates, drip tray, and fire pot, etc.

Click Here to Get the Best Quality Traeger Grill Cleaning Brush.

Step 2: Use White Vinegar to Clean the Grill

White vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent.

You can use white vinegar to clean up the aftermath of a Traeger grill fire.

Dip a clean, dry cloth in a bowl of diluted white vinegar solution.

Then, wipe the cooking grates and any areas where you notice burn stains.

After that, use a grill cleaning brush to remove the stuck debris and grease.

White Vinegar also helps to eliminate the burning smell of a fire.

But be sure to rinse the cooking grates with water after application of the vinegar.

Click Here to Get White Vinegar Solution to Clean Your Grill.

Step 3: Try a Degreaser

There is one more efficient solution to clean after fire dirt and residue and that is to use an efficient degreaser product for the same.

The best one that I will recommend is an Easy Off Kitchen Degreaser.  

It is a powerful solution for removing really tough stains with few minutes of scrubbing.

This solution penetrates through tough grease and burn marks without any fuss, and makes your grill stain free and dirt free in few minutes.

Click Here to Get Easy Off Kitchen Degreaser to Clean Your Grill.

How to Clean Traeger Grill After Using a Fire Extinguisher?

If you use a fire extinguisher or a baking soda to put out a Traeger grill fire, then you have to remove the stubborn white stuff which these things leave on the parts of your grill.

But don’t worry, you can still get rid of all that white residue and dirt with few simple cleaning tips.

First you will have to remove all the moving parts of your Traeger grill such as the firepot, drip tray, grill grates, etc.

Then, scrub those components with a water and white vinegar solution.

Place your Traeger smoker in an open area, and wash it down with your garden hose to remove the leftover residue.

You can now reassemble the grill, and get cooking!






Janice Williams

Mother of 2 Sweet kids, A Writer, A Full Time Stay at Home Mom and Loves Preparing Delicious Barbecue Recipes to Serve My Family a Belly Full of Joy.

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