Wednesday’s weather conditions prompted forest officials to prohibit people from participating in certain camping activities. The change in rules comes as the risk of wildfires increases due to our region’s hot and dry conditions.
“Each year it keeps getting worse and worse and now with prolonged drought conditions,” said Jon Gudel, Public Information with California OES.
Extreme heat conditions are underway in California.
“Which is unusual. and that’s what increases the heat risk when temperatures remain so warm during the day and they don’t cool off during the night,” explained Robin Fox with the National Weather Service.
And with these conditions comes elevated wildfire danger.
“The vegetation is really drying out, there are a lot of fires across the nation which means we are competing for resources to come and help us, and so it’s really important that campers and other visitors know before they go as we like to say,” said Zach Behrens, Public Affairs Officer with San Bernardino National Forest.
Officials going into what is called an elevated fire restriction posture starting Wednesday. U.S. Forest Service officials break down what changes need to be taken into consideration to help prevent an increased fire risk.
“You can still use, with a free California campfire permit, propane devices, so propane stove, a propane lantern, and a propane fire ring,” added Behrens.
And a quick reminder of what is not allowed.
“A lot of people will have an illegal campfire with wood and charcoal and what not and say hey I have my California campfire permit. And that’s where people get caught up if they’re not reading the permit and not looking at the local regulation. And our regulations say no campfire right now unless you’re in x-y-z sites with a full-time camp post,” explained Behrens.
And as summer rainstorms start to roll through, there is another cause for concern, lightning strikes, which can lead to massive fires.
In August of 2020, there were 650 lightning fires up and down California that burned more than 1.5 million acres over a 3 week period.
“Every summer we’re going to have monsoons and with that comes lightning activity, sometimes that lightning activity will come with a rainstorm and that will assist firefighters in suppressing that fire and sometimes it’s going to come as a dry lightning strike,” said Behrens.