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Media Contact: Rob McCorkle, 830-866-3533, robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov [RM]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Dec. 1, 2011

More Texas State Parks Lifting Campfire, Cooking Restrictions

AUSTIN – Recent rains in many parts of the state have resulted in the lifting of burn bans, meaning campers at more Texas state parks will be able to warm their feet by a glowing fire and cook their favorite outdoor dish without fire restrictions.

Roughly two-thirds of the 93 state parks this week were reporting no burn ban restrictions, a significant increase from recent months when the ongoing drought prompted most of Texas’ 254 counties to institute burn bans. The Texas Forest Service on Wednesday reported 152 counties with burn bans, down from 206 a week earlier. That comes as good news to Texas state parks that have seen visitation drop off sharply the past few months.

“I believe that burn bans and restricted open fires have been contributing factors to a drop in camping activity in state parks this fall,” says Brent Leisure,Texas state parks director. “I continue to encourage our park superintendents to reach out to county judges and commissioners where burn bans exist to request exemptions or modifications, when appropriate and reasonable.”

At present, burns bans tend to be affecting state parks mainly in the Texas Hill Country, West Texas, the Panhandle and South Texas. However, there are some exceptions. Those include such popular getaways as Colorado Bend, Franklin Mountains, Garner and South Llano River state parks. Park visitors should keep in mind, too, that many state parks, even though located in burn ban counties, still allow charcoal grilling. Most parks subject to burn bans permit cooking on propane and electric stoves.

For answers to frequently asked questions about burns bans in Texas state parks, visit: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/faq/spdest/state_parks/#fir.

To find out whether the state park you’re planning to visit is under any outdoor fire restrictions, visit the individual park pages on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website: www.texasstateparks.org. TPWD’s Customer Service Center also maintains an up-to-date burn ban list, so customers making reservations will have the latest burn ban information. The central reservation number in Austin is (512) 389-8900.

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