Surrey fire Chief Len Garis recommends either installing spinklers or heat detectors on all apartment balconies or banning barbecues on balconies altogether.
"These are very significant fires and do a lot of damage," Garis said.
"From a strategy perspective there are things we can do. We have to recognize the problem. Our research clearly tells us that these fires extend well beyond where most other fires do. And it is a severe vulnerability associated with these buildings."
Ten per cent of apartment complex fires in B.C. start on balconies, according to Garis.
Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condo Home Owner's Association of B.C., says it takes a vote of three-quarters of the condo owners to put a barbecue ban in place.
"I know everyone likes their barbecues," he said. "It's a bit of a difficulty to give them up for a lot of folks."