Houston parks are usually fragrant on the weekends with the smell of families barbecuing up their favorite dishes.
They won't be for now, and probably for quite some time.
Mayor Annise Parker announced a ban on all barbecuing and grilling in city parks because of the drought and the threat of fires. It's part of something called People Protecting Our Parks.
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"People Protecting Our Parks is our call for help to everyone who loves our parks, green spaces and trees," Parker said. "We ask all Houstonians to join with us to help prevent fires in our city parks. We are already facing the loss of thousands of our trees simply because they won't survive the stress of the drought. I can't imagine losing thousands more trees, or possibly an entire section of one of our beautiful parks, simply because we failed to protect them from fire."
The ban comes after a Parks & Rec aerial surveillance of the city via an HPD helicopter.
"As a result of that assessment and the predictions we're hearing about the drought and the wildfire situations all across our state, we decided it is necessary to temporarily ban the use of barbecue pits and grills in all City of Houston Parks," said Parks & Rec director Joe Turner.
Signs will be posted in parks, but no violations will be issued for at least a week until the city council creates an enforcing mechanism, the mayor's office said.