Fire Officials say grill with caution this Labor Day

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Darrell Bryan waters the grass down around the Homer Masonic Lodge #254 in Huntington.

"We've been hesitant about taking a chance of causing extra problems for our local volunteer fire department," Bryan said.

They're smoking briskets for an annual fundraiser benefiting scholarships for graduating seniors.

They got the okay from their local fire department to fire up the grill as long as they took every precaution.

The smokers sit on a concrete slab, the stacks pointed away from the building and a crew has been manning the meat since 6 a.m. All things fire officials say are a must if you're going to grill this Labor Day.

"In this kind of weather one spark hits the ground and it could start a fire that would burn much faster than you could run, much less put out," Lufkin Assistant Fire Marshal Steve McCool said.

McCool said although nearly every county is under a burn ban in the state, you can still grill and smoke outside.

However, grills should be several feet away from anything that can burn, including eaves, overhangs, limbs, and leaves.

"If you live in an apartment and you're allowed to grill on the property, you still aren't allowed to grill within 10 feet of the property, which means you can't grill on a balcony," McCool said.

It's best to have a closed barbeque pit and always have a good way to put the fire out.

When it comes to cigarette butts, all it takes is one.

"Smoking is a major problem we have right now," McCool said. "A cigarette in the grass right now is likely to start a fire, not just possible, but it's likely to start a fire."

Back to grilling, McCool said it's okay to light up the grill, just use extreme caution.

Outdoor grilling, campfires, and smoking are banned in the Sabine, Angelina, and Davy Crockett National Forests.

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