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Safety advice for when grilling season and burn bans overlap

Staff Writer
Austin 360

As we speed toward Memorial Day and the unofficial start of grilling season in the middle of a drought, fire safety is the most important backyard barbecue tool. Even with area burn bans in effect, outdoor cooking at private residences is allowed, though not in open fire pits. Here's some advice on managing the risks from Joe Limon, a battalion chief with the Austin Fire Department.

— Mike Sutter

*Use propane, if possible. Embers from charcoal and wood flames can drift and start fires.

*Place the grill at least 5 feet to 10 feet from any structure.

*Don't cook near brush.

*Allow at least 15 feet from the top of the flames to the closest overhanging branches.

*Don't leave your grill unattended.

*Have a garden hose nearby.

In City of Austin parks, only propane grills are allowed during the burn ban, said city parks spokesman Victor Ovalle. No wood or charcoal barbecuing is allowed, even in grills already in place at the parks. Also: No smoking.