« All News



The Chicago Park District, Chicago Fire Department and Forest Preserve District of Cook County would like to remind park and forest preserve visitors not to dump hot coals at the base of the trees or in areas where fires could ignite, especially during this unusually hot and dry summer season.  The very dry conditions we are now experiencing make it more important than ever to discard hot coals in the appropriate manner.

“The Chicago Fire Department has already responded to many reports of prairie fires this season caused by discarded cigarettes and barbecue coals,” said Fire Commissioner Jose A. Santiago. “These fires can spread very rapidly and are difficult to extinguish.”

“Red metal cans are provided to protect park patrons as well as the trees from the damage that can be caused from coals that are incorrectly disposed of in the park,” said Mike Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. “Hot coals burn the base of trees, killing the roots and eventually killing the tree.  We have lost countless numbers of trees because of this.”

Park and preserve patrons are reminded during this hot summer season to follow a few simple safety precautions when grilling in a park:

  • Only grill in designated grilling areas that have red, metal “hot coal cans” (in the forest preserves, these cans are white).
  • Please stay away from playgrounds or trees.  Only grill in open grassy areas.
  •  When finished grilling, please dispose of hot coals in the provided red, metal “hot coal cans”.  DO NOT dump the hot coals at the base of tree trunks or near any playgrounds.
  •  Please dispose of trash and recyclables in appropriate blue recycling containers or green trash containers located in every park in the District.

Click here for more information about grilling safety.

To learn more about the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com.


About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.