Fire services are urging Victorians to use barbecues safely, with the popular outdoor cooking facilities behind more than 200 fires last summer.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade acting chief officer Greg Leach said most barbecue fires could be avoided through simple safety precautions.

“Before you fire up your barbecue, it’s important to do a quick safety check to ensure your lunch doesn’t go up in flames,” Mr Leach said.

“Check that the gas cylinder, hose and connections are tight and there are no leaks. Always ensure your barbecue is a safe distance from walls, fences and other property.”

Country Fire Authority chief officer Steve Warrington said unattended barbecues were a common cause of fires.

“It’s tempting to turn your back on a barbecue, but a few seconds is all it takes for a fire to start,” he said.

Fire services have also advised outdoor cooks to remove excess fat from barbecues after each use and not to use barbecues in windy conditions.

They also advise cooking with utensils and wearing aprons.

Between November, 2016, and March, 2017, the CFA responded to 88 barbecue fires, while the MFB attended 113.