San Bernardino, Calif., June 20, 2013 - As the seasonal fire danger rises, forest officials are increasing fire use restrictions on the San Bernardino National Forest on Friday, June 28, 2013.
This past winter the forest experienced less than average winter snow and rainfall as a result of the second year of a drought, and the seasonal outlook again expects a warmer and drier summer this year with below average summer "monsoonal" rains, which could create the potential for large fires.
Forest officials are taking these steps to prevent human-caused fires and raise public awareness. Most wildfires on the San Bernardino National Forest are human-caused and increased restrictions are designed to reduce wildland fires. Forest visitors are reminded to exercise caution when visiting the National Forest and maintain a higher level of awareness with the increased fire risk.
Travelers and visitors can do the following to prevent wildland fires:
* Be informed and abide by all fire restrictions.
* Vehicles should always remain on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass.
* Use extreme caution around open flames or heat-producing sources.
* Motorists, use your car ashtray instead of tossing cigarettes out the window. Also be aware that hot brake shoes, hot exhaust systems, overheating of vehicles and dragging tow chains can cause fires - Keep tow chains high and off the ground.
* Report all suspicious activities to law enforcement.
Fire restrictions and guidelines effective Friday June 28, 2013 on the San Bernardino National Forest are as follows:
* Wood and charcoal fires are permitted only in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds and within agency provided fire rings or camp stoves.
* Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted at Yellow Post campsites, Fisherman's Camp, Cedar Springs, or the following Pacific Crest Trail Camps:
* Campfire permits are required for propane and gas stoves and lanterns used outside of all developed recreation sites.
* Recreational shooting is limited to Public Shooting Ranges operated under special use permit only, except those engaged in legal hunting.
* An approved spark arrester is required for any internal combustion engine operated on designated forest routes. These include chainsaws, generators, motorcycles, and off-highway vehicles.
* Smoking is limited to an enclosed vehicle or building, or within a Developed Recreation Site.
* Fireworks are always prohibited on the San Bernardino National Forest.
The US Forest Service will be aggressively citing those who do not comply with the posted restrictions. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law. Persons may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.
Forest visitors are encouraged to "Know Before You Go" and call ahead to the local Ranger Station to check on location conditions and restrictions at the following offices:
San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor's Office
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino
Big Bear Discovery Center
41397 North Shore Drive / Highway 38, Fawnskin
Idyllwild Ranger Station
54270 Pine Crest, Idyllwild
Lytle Creek Ranger Station
1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek
Mill Creek Visitor Center
34701 Mill Creek Road, Mentone
Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center
51-500 Highway 74 Palm Desert
Also, visit us on the web at http://www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf During wildland fires, follow us on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/SanBernardinoNF or on Inciweb at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/