Rangers: Keep Campfires in Designated Spots, No Fireworks in National Forest

Rangers: Keep Campfires in Designated Spots, No Fireworks in National Forest

Taylor Martinez

IDYLLWILD (CNS) – Campgrounds and recreational sites in the San Bernardino National Forest are likely to be visited by large numbers of people seeking fresh air and open spaces this holiday weekend, according to the U.S. Forest Service, and the agency reminded visitors to be safety conscious about lighting fires.

USFS rangers said fireworks of any kind are prohibited in the national forest during the Fourth of July — or anytime. They also emphasized the need for visitors to follow the rules when it comes to igniting campfires.

Rangers said federal firefighters last month knocked down two small brush fires that were the result of illegally lit campfires in the San Bernardino National Forest. About one-third of the 676,000-acre preserve is in Riverside County, and the remaining two-thirds in San Bernardino County, to the north.

According to the USFS, rangers will be out in force Friday to Sunday, inspecting sites to ensure campfires are within designated spaces.

Wood and charcoal fires are permitted in established metal fire rings in camping areas. Backpackers and campers who set up tents in remote locations and want to use portable stoves must first obtain permits from the Forest Service, according to the agency.

All stoves and lanterns must have shut-off valves, officials said.

“When a visitor is done enjoying their campfire in an agency-provided fire ring at a developed site, be sure it is dead out,” the USFS stated. “Drown it, stir it, feel it. If it’s not cool to the touch, it isn’t out. Extinguishing campfires must also be done when going to sleep for the night or leaving the site for the day.”

If a wildfire starts because a campfire wasn’t properly extinguished, the cost of fire suppression may be imposed on the person who ignited it. An irresponsible party could also be criminally charged for allowing a wildfire to start, particularly if there’s damage, with fines between $5,000 and $10,000 levied as well as a potential prison term of six months for convictions, according to the Forest Service.

More information is available at https://www.sbcfire.org/SafetyTips/Fireworks.aspx.