Fire Restrictions Announced for 2013

Last year it was around July when the fire restrictions went in affect. Now with the drought conditions, fire restrictions start today! Check out the news letter just released from the Sequoia National Forest. Essentially no camp fires anywhere, including in the wilderness, unless in a designated campground. Read on for more information.

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The Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument (Sequoia) in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bakersfield Field Office are implementing early fire restrictions as of today, May 1, 2013. A very dry winter has led to high fire danger much earlier than in previous years. In response to the increasing potential for wildland fire starts, Sequoia and BLM fire officials will keep these restrictions in effect until further notice.

These restrictions apply to the use of campfires, camping stoves, internal combustion engines and smoking. Visitors to Forest Service and adjacent BLM lands need to carefully follow these restrictions.  Campfire permits and a list of areas that allow campfires on the Sequoia can be obtained from Forest Service visitor information desks.

Brent Skaggs, Forest Fire Management Officer, stated, “Fighting fires takes a team effort, and we have a great team; but this dry fire season still has the potential to impact all agencies, so we are making sure that everyone is hitting on all cylinders.”

Agency officials are asking for your patience during this busy season and want the public to be aware of the  firefighting resources they can expect to see.  Skaggs continued to discuss local readiness saying that there are three airtankers, two helicopters, four hotshot crews, and 14 engines across the forest, all preparing for local response.  The Sequoia and BLM officials are looking forward to a safe and productive fire season.

Fire management officials rely on public assistance for a successful fire season.  David Brinsfield, Fire Chief BLM Bakersfield, asked of the public, “If you see a fire or someone starting a fire, please report it—we need your help to catch the fires and anyone that starts them.”

Beginning May 1, 2013, the following general fire restrictions will be in effect:

  • Visitors must have a valid California Campfire Permit in their possession for any type of fire use.  (Permits are not required in a developed recreation site or campground.)
  • Prohibited are: wood campfires, charcoal fires and barbecues outside of recreation sites and campgrounds.  Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame, or using an explosive are also prohibited.  (Note: persons with a written permit from the Forest Service {other than a campfire permit} specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act are exempt from the fire restrictions.)
  • Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a barren area three feet in diameter or a campground or specified recreation site.
  • Allowed are: lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of developed recreation sites or campgrounds, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit (available free of charge).
  • Forest visitors must clear all flammable material five feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when in use.
  • Campfires and barbecue charcoal fires are only allowed in developed recreation sites or campgrounds.
  • Within the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument internal combustion engines may be operated only on designated roads and trails.  Make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly and has an approved spark arrester. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

There are NO EXEMPT AREAS outside of campgrounds or developed recreation sites from the above restrictions within the 1.2 million acre Sequoia National Forest.

These restrictions will remain in place until the end of the fire season, normally in late autumn.  Further restrictions may be imposed if the fire danger increases.  Anyone causing a wildfire could be liable for all costs associated with suppressing the fire.

For additional information, and locations of specific areas please visit: www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia.

If you spot a fire, call 911.

About Joshua

http://about.me/joshuacourter
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