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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
News Release
Friday, September 09, 2011

Outdoor Cooking Increases Fire Risk

Our area continues under an elevated fire threat due to drought conditions. The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office urges residents to exercise extreme caution when cooking or barbecuing outdoors.

While backyard cook-outs and barbecuing are still permitted, the Burn Ban instituted April 19, 2011 requires that they take place in a grill, pit or other enclosure that contains the fire, ash and embers. Even a small spark can ignite dry vegetation. Winds can fan the flames and spread the fire rapidly.

All four Harris County Commissioners have banned burning in their public parks until fire conditions improve. The City of Houston has issued similar regulations regarding fires within city parks.

Weather forecasts for this weekend call for continued dry and hot conditions with the strong possibility of higher winds.  This creates the ideal environment for wildfire ignition and an increased potential for fires to spread. The large number of fires throughout the state means that fire management resources are spread very thin.

Violation of the Burn Ban is a Class “C” misdemeanor, punishable for up to a $500 fine.  In addition, any person who starts a fire that causes damage to property without the consent of the owner may be charged with Reckless Damage or Destruction, a Class C misdemeanor, or Arson, a felony.

Visit the HCFMO website for more information on fire prevention and safety.




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