California's Stanislaus National Forest to implement fire restrictions; officials say decision is based on indicators including fire activity observed in last year's Rim Fire, note large number of unattended, escaped campfires being found in forest

SONORA, California , June 11, 2014 (press release) – Due to fire indicators, such as temperature and fuels moisture, the Stanislaus National Forest (NF) is implementing fire restrictions in the High Hazard areas beginning June 13 and until further notice.

The fire restriction prohibits campfires, briquette barbecues, and smoking outside developed campgrounds in designated High Hazard Areas of the Forest. 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. “Unfortunately, we continue to find a large number of unattended and escaped campfires on the forest."

Forest personnel continue to find unattended campfires which require prevention action. There have been 16 reported in 2014, and there were 133 in 2013. Though natural causes continue to account for over 50 percent of wildfires on the Stanislaus NF, human caused wildfire is a major contender. Since 1970, campfires account for 695 fires, smoking at 368, arson at 235 and debris burning at 228 fires. To learn how to help prevent unwanted wildfire, please visit the One Less Spark Campaign page.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, the following prohibitions go into effect by Forest Order in designated High Hazard Areas on the Groveland, Mi-Wok, Summit, and Calaveras Ranger Districts of the Stanislaus NF:

 Campfires. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, (including briquette type barbecue), or stove fire is prohibited, except within developed recreation sites. Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit may use a portable stove or lantern that uses gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel within developed recreation sites. [36 CFR 261.52 (a)].

 Smoking. Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material [36 CFR 261.52 (d)].

 Welding. Operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame is prohibited, except by permit

 Use of Explosives. Using an explosive is prohibited, except by permit

(Note): The strip of National Forest land in the Moore Creek Campground area of the Calaveras Ranger District, along the south shore of the Mokelumne River and adjacent to Salt Springs Reservoir, is administered by the Eldorado National Forest).

Copies of the Forest Order and maps displaying the fire hazard zones are available for viewing at Forest Offices in Sonora, Mi-Wuk Village, Pinecrest, Groveland, and Hathaway Pines and on the Stanislaus NF website.

For more information about this news release 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 (RD) at 209-795-1381; Groveland RD at 209-962-7825; Mi-Wok RD at 209-586-3234; or Summit RD at 209-965-3434.

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