IDYLLWILD: Forest Rangers to crack down on unauthorized campfires starting today

IDYLLWILD – Starting today, visitors to the San Bernardino National Forest will be barred from lighting camp fires and using stoves outside of designated areas due to the increased risk of wildfires.

According to forest rangers, thick vegetation from heavy winter rains, combined with hot and dry conditions now prevalent in Southern California, have elevated wildfire danger in locations throughout the 676,666-acre federal preserve.

“The community and all forest users can help in the prevention of fires by being careful when using public lands and by remaining vigilant in reporting illegal and inappropriate behaviors within the forest and our community,” said USFS Fire Management Officer Jaime Gamboa.

Effective today and continuing into the fall, the following restrictions will apply:
— campfires, stove fires and any other type of open burning are only
allowed in designated locations listed by the USFS;
— individuals who hold a California Campfire Permit may use portable
stoves and lanterns outdoors, as long as they have fuel shut-off valves;
— smoking is limited to the inside of vehicles or buildings, or in a
specifically designated site;
— welding is prohibited; and
— operators of chainsaws, gas-powered generators, motorbikes and off-highway vehicles must have spark arresters on their rigs.

Violations can result in fines as high as $10,000 or six months in jail, as well as all liability costs should a vegetation fire start due to prohibited activity, according to the Forest Service.

Southern California Wildfire season generally spans May to November.

More information is available from the USFS’s Idyllwild Ranger Station at (909) 382-2922, or via the San Jacinto Mountains Monument Visitors Center, (760) 862-9984.

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