With Wildfires Raging, Austin Tells Grillers: Propane Cookouts Only

Carry on, propane grill operators! Like many municipalities in Texas, Austin has instituted a burn ban in city parks. But propane grills are still allowed. (image: mikecargill via flickr.com)

Wildfires have been tearing through Texas, burning through more than 1.5 million acres this April. The situation has been made worse by dry weather and unusually strong winds. So to discourage any more flare-ups, the capital of Austin has banned fire in city parks. No campfires, no charcoal grilling, no smoking.

But the burgers will still sizzle on, as long as they sizzle over propane flames. Gas grills are still allowed in the parks, according to the Austin NBC affiliate, KXAN. The first name in Texas propane, Hank Hill, is surely pleased with the news.

The burn ban meant some Easter weekend picnickers had to eat cold cut sandwiches instead of dogs. Though one park patron went out and bought a new propane grill so she could celebrate her son’s birthday. The grill cost $300, but that’s a better deal than paying the $500 fine for breaking the rule.

“We already bought a lot of meat, so we have to get it cooked,” she told KXAN.

Grillers are still encouraged to keep a bucket of water on hand to put out any flare-ups.

More than 200 counties in Texas have instituted burn bans, according to the Houston Chronicle. Though prudent, the ban may have doused some of the Easter weekend good times — it’s typically a busy camping weekend in the Lone Star State.

End note: Anyone grilling today? This soda can chicken looks like a good time.