Grill or no grill? Louisiana Fire Marshal warns of outdoor cooking during Labor Day

Outdoor cooking this Labor Day Weekend may do more harm than good.
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 4:48 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:01 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Outdoor cooking this Labor Day Weekend may do more harm than good while the statewide burn ban is still in effect. On August 25, the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office updated its burn ban, stating that ALL private burning is prohibited with no limitations until the hot and dry conditions change.

While outdoor cooking is not banned, the state fire marshal said citations will be given if cooking creates a fire that the local fire department has to respond to. Ashely Rodrigue, public affairs director for the Louisiana Fire Marshal, said due to air-related changes, grilling outdoors can cause fires to react differently and embers to travel further than normal.

“These embers are traveling far, and they’re staying alive in the air,” Rodrigue said. “So then they’re landing in these grassy areas that are very flammable right now, catching quickly, spreading quickly, and all of a sudden there’s a problem that you never thought could happen.”

Rodrigue said it is best to err on the side of caution though, since any small spark can cause a fire that spreads rapidly, including those from the grill.

The state fire marshal also said that mowing the grass can produce a spark on or near dry, brown, dead grass from the flammability and advises the public to avoid operating hot machinery if possible.

So, if you must ask, just don’t do it, and if you see a fire, do not hesitate to call 911.

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