Fire officials from the Sequoia National Forest announced that fire restrictions will begin within the Sequoia National Forest, which includes the Giant Sequoia National Monument, effective June 15, 2016. This decision is based on current fire activity, increasing fire danger from ongoing drought conditions, very dry forest vegetation and tree mortality.
Trees stressed from four years of drought are succumbing to bark beetle attacks and dying in numbers never seen before. Dead trees present a danger because they can fall unexpectedly onto people and roads used for ingress and egress. Dead and dying trees also create dry fuels for wildfires. For more tree mortality information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/CATreeMortality
“We have had very favorable weather conditions so far this season, but now things are changing,” said Forest Fire Officer Brent Skaggs. “We are asking the public to be aware of these conditions and help us keep our forests safe for all to enjoy.”
Forest officials are taking these steps to prevent human-caused fires and raise public awareness as the summer continues to get warmer and dryer.
Beginning on June 15, and until further notice, the following restrictions will be in effect:
· Campfires or charcoal fires, are allowed, with a valid California Campfire Permit, in designated campgrounds and posted “Fire Exempt Areas” as listed in the Forest Order 16-08, District exhibits. A list of “exempt” areas is available at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia. Free Campfire Permits are available at Forest Service offices and www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit.
- Smoking will be confined within enclosed vehicles or buildings, developed recreation sites and other designated “Fire Exempt Areas” as listed in the District exhibits.
· Lanterns and portable stoves with a shut-off valve that use gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed, with a valid California Campfire Permit. 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.
· Operating an internal combustion engine off of properly designated roads or trails and welding are all strictly prohibited during the increased restriction period.
· Explosives, fireworks, including sparklers and so-called safe and sane fireworks, are prohibited in national forests.
Violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of no more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or incarceration for not more than six months, or both.
Reminder! California Campfire Permits are required for any source of flame or fire and are available for free at all Forest Service offices or online at www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit. Campfires must be attended by a responsible person at all times and completely extinguished after use.
Forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and call ahead to the local ranger station to check on local conditions. For more information contact your local ranger station or visit the Sequoia National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia.
-Courtesy US Forest Service