December 28, 2011
Temporary BBQ Pit and Smoking Ban Lifted in all City of Houston Parks
Mayor Annise Parker, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) and the Houston Fire Department have lifted the temporary grilling and smoking ban enacted in September of this year in response to unprecedented drought conditions.
Enough progress has been made on the removal of dead trees in the 12 City parks where the ban had remained in effect for the ban to be lifted for all City of Houston (COH) parks. The COH appreciates the support that Houstonians have given as we faced the effects of this year's drought.
While the temporary BBQ pit and smoking ban has been lifted for all COH parks, the drought still continues in the region and our area's rainfall count is still below normal.
Houstonians are advised to continue to keep the following fire safety tips in mind:
- Portable barbecue pits, charcoal grills and other open-flame cooking devices outside of a building should not be operated on combustible balconies or located within 10 feet of combustible walls or roofs or other combustible materials.
- When igniting the barbecue charcoal, use a charcoal lighter, not gasoline. Gasoline can flash violently in and around the pit causing serious injuries to anyone in the area of the flash. A fire extinguisher or charged garden hose should be handy while the fire is burning. Check the pit frequently to ensure that it is okay.
- Hot ash and coals from barbecue pits and charcoal burners should be placed in a non-combustible container until cooled or thoroughly saturated with water, before being disposed.
Vehicles, Trailers and Tools
- Park vehicles so that the exhaust system does not come in contact with dry grass, leaves, or weeds.
- Adjust the safety chains on trailers to ensure they don't drag and create sparks that can cause roadside starts.
- Keep lawn mowers and agricultural equipment in proper working condition and avoid rocks and other materials which might cause a spark.
- Do not weld or cut without a spotter, a water source and a shovel.
- Notify the electric power company when dead trees or overhanging limbs endanger the electric wires. The wires may touch each other or the ground, causing sparks that start fires.
Cigarettes or Other Smoking Materials
- Another cause of accidental fires is carelessly discarded cigarettes or other smoking materials. They can smolder for hours and should be completely doused with water before being discarded in a safe manner, rather than tossed out a window or on the ground.
- Texas' arson law includes felony punishment for anyone whose cigarette recklessly sets fire to a building or injures anyone. Arson is a second-degree felony in Texas, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but if a person is hurt or killed or if the fire involves a church, arson is a first-degree felony with possible punishment of up to life in prison.
For more information visit www.houstontx.gov/parks, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 3-1-1 (713.837.0311). For additional safety tips visit www.houstonfire.org.