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City Trying to Give Some Teeth to Burn Ban in Parks

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.
Smoking is banned in all city parks, including Auditorium Shores.

No smoking, grilling or any kind of open flames are allowed at city parks in Austin right now, but the city can’t really enforce that ban.  That's because parks police can only ask people to stop those actions.  A resolution on tomorrow’s city council agenda could change that. 

It would direct the city manager to create an ordinance that would make it illegal to have an open flame in a park when a burn ban is in effect. Violations would be a Class C misdemeanor, with a fine likely around a couple hundred bucks.

Council Member Bill Spelman told KUT if Thursday’s resolution passes the fines could be in place in a couple of weeks.

"Until it rains our city parks are tinder boxes when it rains again then the burn ban comes off and it's okay to go  back to business as usual," Spelman said. "But right now it's unsafe for people in the parks, it's unsafe for the neighborhoods surround the parks we are in a very dangerous situation right now and we need to be sure we can enforce the rules."