Because of the increasing potential for wildfire, Los Padres National Forest officials have imposed stricter restrictions on campfires, stoves, smoking materials and internal combustion engines throughout the forest.
Moisture levels are at a critical threshold. Combine that with warm temperatures and high winds and we have all the ingredients for fire starts, according to Anthony Escobar, Los Padres Forest Fire management officer.
The most important thing is for forest visitors to be vigilant when conditions are bone-dry like this Escobar said.
Among the restrictions that took effect Tuesday:
No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will be permitted outside developed recreation sites or designated campfire use sites, even with a valid California campfire permit.
Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be permitted, but only with a valid California campfire permit.
Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for five feet in all directions from their camp stoves, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times during 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. This restriction is in effect year-round. The engine should be tuned, operate properly and have an approved spark arrester.
For a list of developed recreation sites and campfire-use sites in Los Padres National Forest or further information regarding fire-safe camping, go to www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.