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Barbecues again welcomed at Point Defiance Park

September 13, 2018

Much-needed rainfall has reduced the risk of catastrophic wildfire

It’s been a month since Metro Parks Tacoma managers banned all barbecues from Point Defiance Park.

The move was prompted by extremely hot, dry weather and the vulnerability of the park’s treasured forest.

But recent rainfall and the forecast of more damp weather has turned conditions around. So Metro Parks Tacoma has lifted the barbecue burn ban and is once again welcoming picnickers to grill in Point Defiance Park.

The state Department of Natural Resources now ranks wildfire risk as “moderate” in the south Puget Sound, including Pierce County and neighboring Kitsap, Mason and Thurston counties.

People who barbecue in the park are asked to be especially careful and to leave leftover coals in the barbecues for later removal by parks staff.

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Point Defiance Park’s 760 acres include hundreds of acres of natural forest including many old-growth Douglas firs and other native species. A catastrophic wildfire could not only destroy forested area, but endanger public safety and threaten structures, such as those at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. If uncontrolled, fire could spread to adjacent neighborhoods.

Metro Parks encourages cookouts at its developed parks. However, grilling and open fires are never allowed in Swan Creek Park, Charlotte’s Blueberry Park, Oak Tree Park and other natural areas managed by the park district.

Smoking is illegal in Tacoma’s parks. So are fireworks and campfires.

Anyone who witnesses smoking, fireworks or similar activity in Tacoma parks is asked to report it to the Tacoma Police Department. The emergency number is 911. The non-emergency number is (253) 798-4721.

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