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Officials Step Up Fire Restrictions, Close More Areas in Los Padres

Additional areas of the Los Padres National Forest within Monterey County are now closed to the public due to the fire emergency in that area, the Forest Service has announced. Public entry is prohibited until further notice on all national forest lands north of Nacimiento-Ferguson Road.

The closure prohibits all public entry to national forest lands, trails, roads and recreation sites within the designated area. It does not apply to private land inside or adjacent to the national forest.

It is a precautionary measure because of the difficulty of evacuating forest visitors from remote areas should the fires which are burning in these areas spread.  In addition, firefighters and heavy equipment are building contingency lines to try and stop the fires from growing larger and this closure will allow them to work more safely, quickly and efficiently.

Also in response to increasing fire danger, the U.S. Forest Service has announced that it will impose additional fire restrictions in Los Padres National Forest, starting Friday and until further notice.

The additional fire restrictions affect the use of campfires, stoves and smoking materials. The restrictions are as follows:

» Wood campfires, charcoal fires and barbecues are prohibited outside of designated campfire use sites.

» Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed outside of designated Campfire Use Sites, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit.

» Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for 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.

» Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated Campfire Use Site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

» Internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails.  Make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly and has an approved spark arrester.  (This restriction is in effect year-round.) 

These restrictions will remain in place until the end of the high fire season, normally in late autumn.

Further restrictions may be imposed if the fire danger increases. In addition, the use or possession of fireworks, including the “safe and sane” variety, is strictly prohibited at all times in Los Padres National Forest. A violation of the “no fireworks” law could result in a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail. Anyone causing a wildfire could be liable for all costs associated with suppressing the fire.

For a list of campfire use sites in Los Padres National Forest, or for more information regarding fire-safe camping, click here or call a Forest Service office. California campfire permits are available for free at any Forest Service office.

Joe Pasinato represents the Los Padres National Forest.


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