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Charcoal BBQ’s banned as Tahoe fire conditions worsen

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 6:05 PM PDT
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TAHOE CITY, CA. (KOLO) -.Just ahead the first warm weather holiday weekend-- which is expected to draw crowds to Lake Tahoe-- officials have announced new fire restrictions. One of those restrictions is going to drive some patio cookouts inside

Visitors will be arriving to find a landscape which is being described as the driest since 2004.

“We’ve had two drier than normal winters,” notes Chief Steve Leighton of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. “Fuel moistures are about six weeks ahead of where they should be.”

With those conditions the counties up here have tightened restrictions. campfires--of course--are banned. That’s no surprise, but beginning today all outside burning of wood or charcoal is prohibited.

“People will use charcoal and leave it unattended,” says Leighton, “and a gust of wind will come up and send a piece of charcoal and send it off into dry brush or grass. They do cause fires.”>

That means no charcoal fired barbeques, even those in campgrounds.

Placer County has long prohibited charcoal barbeques at short term rentals. this year--for the first time--renters are prohibited from bringing their own.

Propane grills and fire pits are permitted except under red flag conditions at which point all sources of open flame are banned throughout the Tahoe Truckee region.

“With propane you can quickly turn the flame off and that basically eliminates the hazard immediately with charcoal things tend to smolder,” :Leighton explained.

Last year saw a record 22 days of red flag conditions and vegetation fires were up by 26 percent in the North Tahoe district.

The new restrictions will remain in place indefinitely. Typically they last through the fire season’s traditional end in November.

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