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Posted on March 14, 2014 | 2:22 p.m.

Fire Restrictions Lowered for Los Padres National Forest

Source: Andrew Madsen for Los Padres National Forest

Recent rainfall across the Los Padres National Forest has brought some minor relief to fire danger.

Officials have decided to reduce fire restrictions on the forest effective immediately. The green-up of grasses will help by temporarily reducing potential for new fire starts. However, due to the extreme drought conditions, wildfire potential still exists. Larger vegetation such as brush and trees remain critically dry.

Under the reduced fire restrictions, campfires and charcoal barbecues will be allowed in all areas of Los Padres National Forest.

A California Campfire Permit, available free of charge on the Forest’s website, is required to build a campfire outside of a designated Campfire Use Site. A list of Campfire Use Sites and information about how to acquire a campfire permit is available at all Los Padres National Forest offices.

Visitors who construct wood or charcoal fires outside of designated Campfire Use Sites also must clear all flammable material for a minimum of five feet in all directions; have a shovel available for preparing and extinguishing the fire; have a responsible person in attendance at all times; and extinguish the fire with water, using the “drown, stir and feel” method. Prohibitions on smoking and target shooting in Los Padres National Forest are also being lifted.

Forest officials stressed that fire restrictions will again go into effect in May barring significant rainfall over the next two months.

The following fire restrictions will remain in effect:

» Spark arresters are required on all off-highway vehicles, chainsaws, and other internal combustion engines and equipment;

» A permit is required for all welding, grinding, cutting, or use of explosives;

» Tracer ammunition is prohibited at all times;

» Fireworks are prohibited in Los Padres National Forest at all times and in all places.

Visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go,” and call the local ranger station for more information on conditions and restrictions. Please remember to do your part in preventing wildfires.

» Santa Barbara Ranger District — 805.967.3481

» Ojai Ranger District — 805.646.4348

» Mount Pinos Ranger District — 661.245.3731

» Santa Lucia Ranger District — 805.925.9538

» Monterey Ranger District — 831.385.5434

— Andrew Madsen represents the Los Padres National Forest.

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