Sequoia National Forest and BLM announce fire restrictions for 2013

The Sequoia National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bakersfield Field Office announced fire restrictions effective May 1, prohibiting campfires along the Pacific Crest Trail from about 50 miles south of Walker Pass to about 15 miles north of Kennedy Meadows.

Campfires are always banned along the Southern California sections of the PCT in the Cleveland National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, Angeles National Forest, and Mount San Jacinto State Park. The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park requires metal containers for all campfires and wood fuel to be packed in. Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks prohibit fires along most of the PCT because of the high elevation. The BLM California Desert District (Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties) usually ban campfires starting in mid May.

via view_camper on Flickr

via view_camper on Flickr

Violation of campfire restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization and/or imprisonment up to six months.

The Sequoia National Forest and BLM Bakersfield Field Office are implementing early fire restrictions because a very dry winter has led to high fire danger much earlier than in previous years. In response to the increasing potential for wildland fire starts, Sequoia and BLM fire officials will keep these restrictions in effect until further notice.

These restrictions apply to the use of campfires, camping stoves, internal combustion engines and smoking. Visitors to Forest Service and adjacent BLM lands need to carefully follow these restrictions. Campfire permits and a list of areas that allow campfires on the Sequoia can be obtained from Forest Service visitor information desks.

Brent Skaggs, Forest Fire Management Officer, stated, “Fighting fires takes a team effort, and we have a great team; but this dry fire season still has the potential to impact all agencies, so we are making sure that everyone is hitting on all cylinders.”

Agency officials are asking for your patience during this busy season and want the public to be aware of the firefighting resources they can expect to see. Skaggs continued to discuss local readiness saying that there are three airtankers, two helicopters, four hotshot crews, and 14 engines across the forest, all preparing for local response. The Sequoia and BLM officials are looking forward to a safe and productive fire season.

Beginning May 1, 2013, the following general fire restrictions will be in effect:

  • Visitors must have a valid California Campfire Permit in their possession for any type of fire use. (Permits are not required in a developed recreation site or campground.)
  • Prohibited are: wood campfires, charcoal fires and barbecues outside of recreation sites and campgrounds. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame, or using an explosive are also prohibited. (Note: persons with a written permit from the Forest Service {other than a campfire permit} specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act are exempt from the fire restrictions.)
  • Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a barren area three feet in diameter or a campground or specified recreation site.
  • Allowed are: lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of developed recreation sites or campgrounds, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit (available free of charge).
  • 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.
  • Campfires and barbecue charcoal fires are only allowed in developed recreation sites or campgrounds.
  • Within the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument internal combustion engines may be operated only on designated roads and trails. Make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly and has an approved spark arrester. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

A news release about the restrictions is HERE.

To view the signed order and it’s associated list of campsites allowing campfire, click HERE.