Due to high temperatures and other conditions, the Stanislaus National Forest began imposing fire restrictions Friday in the designated high hazard areas in the Groveland, Mi-Wok, Summit and Calaveras ranger districts.
The fire restrictions prohibit campfires, briquette barbecues and smoking outside developed campgrounds. Welding and blasting also are prohibited, except by special permit.
“Conditions on the forest, the anticipation of an active fire season, and fire activity observed during the Rim fire last year confirm that it will take diligence by all of us to prevent wildfires,” said Chris Schow, fire management officer for the Stanislaus National Forest, in a news release. “Unfortunately, we continue to find a large number of unattended and escaped campfires on the forest.”
There have been 16 unattended campfires reported in 2014, and there were 133 in 2013. Though natural causes continue to account for over 50 percent of wildfires in the Stanislaus National Forest, human-caused wildfire is a major contender. Since 1970, campfires have accounted for 695 wildfires, smoking for 368, arson for 235 and debris burning for 228, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
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To learn how to help prevent unwanted wildfires, visit the One Less Spark campaign page, at www.preventwildfireca.org/onelessspark.
The following prohibitions are in effect:
• Campfires – Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire (including briquette-type barbecue) or stove fire is prohibited, except within developed recreation sites. People with a California campfire permit may use a portable stove or lantern that uses gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel within developed recreation sites.
• Smoking – Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
• Welding – Operating acetylene or another type torch with an open flame is prohibited, except by permit.
• Explosives – Using an explosive is prohibited, except by permit.
Copies of the forest order and maps displaying the fire hazard zones can be viewed at Forest Service offices in Sonora, Mi-Wuk Village, Pinecrest, Groveland, and Hathaway Pines and on the Stanislaus National Forest website, www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus.
For more information or to speak with a visitor information specialist about forest information and recreation opportunities, call the Stanislaus Supervisor’s Office at (209) 532-3671; Calaveras Ranger District at (209) 795-1381; Groveland RD at (209) 962-7825; Mi-Wok RD at (209) 586-3234; or Summit RD at (209) 965-3434.