New Restrictions Could Affect Camping Plans

Campfires Only Allowed Inside Designated Areas

Building a campfire in a secluded spot in the woods or lighting up a cigarette while on a hike could cost you up to $1,000 or even a year in jail, KERO 23 reported.

Starting Wednesday and through fire season, there are new restrictions.

Almost two weeks ago the Borel fire near Lake Isabella torched nearly 3,500 acres, destroying several homes along the way.

It was a reality check local authorities don't want repeated.

"We have the 4th of July coming up and conditions are worse than we've ever seen this time of year, so we want to make sure that the public is aware of the problems and the restrictions, so we can hopefully have a safe holiday and a safe summer," said Larry Mercer from the Bureau of Land Management.

Topping the list of changes is campfires. Even if you have a permit, campfires are only allowed inside designated areas and provided fire safe rings. The same goes for charcoal barbecues. Smokers are also required in developed recreation sights.

"And if you smoke like we smoke, you're extra careful. We bury butts, and put them out and we throw in water and stuff like that," tourist Gary Horcham said.

For many, the allure of camping is being in the great outdoors and off the beaten path, but with the new restrictions coming earlier than normal; expect campgrounds to be busier than ever, KERO 23 reported.

"It probably wouldn't be worth going in non-designated areas, if you couldn't have a fire. It would be just dry food, there couldn't be cooking, It wouldn't be worth it,' Bakersfield resident Gil Simmons said.

Mercer said something as little as a car off-roading could spark a fire with its exhaust.

Mercer also said if you're not sure where the restrictions apply; when you are outside city limits, assume you are in a restricted area.