Safe turkey preparation is key.

Tips for cooking your Thanksgiving turkey outside during drought

It's almost turkey time, and it still hasn't rained in Georgia. But that shouldn't get in the way of Thanksgiving meal plans.

A temporary ban on fires, grilling and smoking at Gwinnett parks was announced Friday. But birds can still be fried and smoked in personal backyards.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with fire departments across the country responding to more than 1,700 incidents in 2014.

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Here are some tips from Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services for safely cooking a turkey outside:

  • Never leave fryers or smokers unattended.
  • Turkey fryers should be used outdoors and a safe distance away from the house or any other combustible material. 
  • Place the fryer on a solid, flat surface.
  • Never use a turkey fryer on the back deck or in a garage or carport.
  • Fried birds should be fresh or thawed completely, never frozen. "Placing a frozen turkey into a fryer could cause a violent reaction."

"The ban on outdoor burning is temporary and will be rescinded when significant rainfall has occurred and the drought conditions have improved substantially," Capt. Tommy Rutledge said in a release last week.

RELATED: Gwinnett County air quality acceptable, but concerning amid drought

The countywide ban is in response to recent grass fires in local parks, Rutledge said. It temporarily halts the burning of yard debris, commercial land clearing, burn pits and bonfires. 

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