Junior fire chief Jaxson Rutherford of Port McNeill watches as volunteer firefighters practice putting out flames during the Port McNeill Fire Department's open house last Thursday.

Grease lighting

Firefighters from Port Hardy and Port McNeill opened their doors to the public last week.

Firefighters from Port Hardy and Port McNeill opened their doors to the public last week, the open houses marking fire prevention week on the North Island.

In Port Hardy firefighters gave a demonstration on the most common source of kitchen fires: overheated grease.

In just minutes, an unattended pot of hot oil can erupt in flames, engulfing its surroundings.

Simply by placing the lid on the pot, you can cut off oxygen and kill the fire. The burner can then be turned off and the lid should remain in place until the oil is cool — lifting the lid too early reintroduces oxygen and can cause re-ignition.

Water should never be used to tackle a grease fire. The rapid evaporation of the water carries oil molecules into the air where they ignite, spreading the fire.