Cook outs at parks, campsites, lakes and beaches are a Southern California summer tradition. Whether you haul your Hibachi or stake a claim on a public grill and picnic table, these tips will help you fire up the grill and not the watershed.
Claim Your Spot: Check the weather report to determine if the climate is appropriate for grilling. Make sure fires are permitted in your preferred dining destination and clear the immediate area of flammable leaves and debris. Refrain from propping the grill up against a tree or wooden structures. Find the perfect spot through Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District.
Choose to Reuse: Keep waste out of the watershed by choosing reusables. Replace plastic or paper disposables with washable napkins, tablecloth, plates, cups and utensils. Buy in bulk to save money and reduce packaging waste.
Fire Up the Grill: For charcoal grills, get the flames blazing with chimney-style or electric fire starters instead of toxic lighter fluid or petroleum-based products. If you barbecue frequently, consider replacing your charcoal grill with an electric or gas grill to reduce pollutants.
Keep it Clean: Let ashes cool completely for 48 hours. Speed up the process by dousing with water, stirring carefully. Charcoals and charcoal ash are highly flammable, so they should never be emptied directly into a trash bin. Instead, wrap them in aluminum foil or place in a noncombustible container such as an old coffee or paint can before disposing in a noncombustible trash bin. Always leave the site in the same condition (or better!) as you found it. Dispose of any empty matchboxes, lighters, or other disposable items in a waste bin. Bring an extra trash bag to make collecting trash easier.