Chamblee54

Charcoal Grills In Oakland Parks

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on May 28, 2020


Woman Calls Police On Black Family For BBQing At A Lake In Oakland You have probably heard about this story. There is a series of *viral memes* featuring the caller, a well fed white woman. While the optics of the situation are unappealing, “BBQ Becky* might be right about one thing.

The City of Oakland has published a guide to barbecuing in the park. It clearly states “Non-Charcoal Portable Grilling: Allowed in designated areas only.” Find BBQ Locations in Parks goes into more detail. “Charcoal grilling is only allowed in designated areas where stationary grill pits have been installed. Please do not remove hot coals from pits. Non-charcoal grilling is only allowed in designated areas. You may bring in your own portable non-charcoal grill. Your grill can not be wider than 27 inches. Please note: Charcoal grills are not allowed in non-charcoal designated areas.” This prohibition is not race specific. Being black does not give your special charcoal burning privileges.

Is Oakland unique in regulating charcoal grills? A google search is inconclusive. DeKalb County does not appear to have any charcoal ordinances. Atlanta has “Rules Applicable to Piedmont Park Only: Grilling is allowed only in designated areas and only in grills provided. No portable grills or ground fires are allowed.” Massachusetts states “Only a few state parks allow you to bring in charcoal grills. … When using a charcoal grill, be sure to cool and dispose of your used charcoal in a fireproof container.” Burning charcoal is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution.

Why would a government want to restrict use of portable charcoal grills? Sacramento enacted a barbecue ban once. ““The parks facilities continue to become drier and increase our fire risk,” said Sacramento County regional parks director Jeff Leatherman. “This would prevent people from walking to an open space and setting up a barbecue.”

“Why might charcoal grilling be limited? Here are some potential reasons. Charcoal is carbon based and can be a polluter. A recent American Lung Association report suggested that the combination of traffic, dry weather, and wildfires have led to more soot in California. In fact, SFgate.com writes, “The Bay Area was alongside parts of the Central Valley, which after years of improvement saw increases in the number of days with unhealthy levels of soot between 2012 and 2015, the report shows. The Bay Area ranked among the country’s 10 worst regions for what is known as particle pollution.”

“Particulate matter is typically designated by its size. Particle mass concentrations with a diameter less than 2.5 (10) micrometers is called PM2.5 (PM10). By the way, the average human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates PM2.5 because smaller particles can penetrate deeper into our lungs causing respiratory and/or cardiovascular issues. Through the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), guidelines are set for levels of certain pollutants over a given period of time. Places that exceed these standards may be deemed nonattainment areas, which could have significant health, economic, or political ramifications.”

According to a Huffington Post article comparing charcoal and gas grills, “Charcoal is dirtier, but can come from renewable resources; gas has a smaller carbon footprint, but is derived from non-renewable fossil fuels. Most charcoal is a funky amalgamation of things like sawdust, corn starch and lighter fluid; when it’s burned, it can result in 105 times more carbon monoxide than burning propane and lots of harmful volatile organic compounds. But, “real” charcoal, also commonly known as “chunk charcoal,” doesn’t have the nasty additives, and burning it is carbon neutral.”

Pictures are from The Library of Congress. Dorothea Lange took the pictures in California, in September 1939. The spell check suggestion for BBQing is Bobbing. This is a repost.

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