Dry conditions require more fire restrictions | TheUnion.com

Dry conditions require more fire restrictions

A fear of wildfire continues to fuel official actions to prevent blazes in Nevada County.

Because of extreme dry conditions, the Bureau of Land Management has placed additional restrictions on public use of all BLM-managed public lands in Sierra counties. Included is a total ban on all open campfires.

Much of the land is in the South Yuba and Bear River watersheds. Other BLM-managed public lands included are in Placer, Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba counties.

The reason for the additional restrictions is the extraordinary dryness of vegetation. “Fuel moisture levels are lower than I’ve ever seen them at this time of year,” said BLM Fire Management Officer Ken Hood.

The conditions caused the Tahoe National Forest to impose tighter fire restrictions just last week.

“The current fire severity indicators are setting new historic levels for dry conditions on both the west and east sides of the Sierra crest,” said Forest Supervisor Steve Eubanks.

“We’re above critical levels in how dry things are,” said Tina Rose of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Nevada-Placer-Yuba unit. “We’re bracing for the worst and hoping for the best.”

Hood urged campers and other outdoor users to be familiar with special limitations prior to visiting any public lands in these counties. The additional fire restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

Violations are punishable by fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year in jail. For additional information, contact BLM’s Folsom Field Office at 916-985-4474, or log on to http://www.ca.blm.gov.

On Tahoe National Forest lands, open campfires are only permitted in campgrounds that have metal fire rings and water systems. Woodcutting has been suspended, and off-highway vehicles have been permitted in the Prosser Pit area near Truckee and the Sugar Pine area north of Foresthill.

Smoking is also limited to vehicles or buildings, as on BLM lands.

BLM and Forest service fire restrictions

– Portable internal combustion engines (pumps, chain saws, brush cutters, etc.) may now be operated only from 5 to 11 a.m., except for suction dredges located on a waterway on BLM land.

– All open campfires are banned on BLM land but allowed in fire rings on Forest Service land. Portable stoves are allowed in developed campgrounds and day use areas only.

– A valid California campfire permit is required for all fires. Campfire permits are available free of charge at any BLM, Forest Service, or California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection office.

– Motor vehicles are restricted to designated roads and trails.

– Permits for the use of explosives or welding equipment are suspended.

– No smoking is allowed, except inside an enclosed vehicle or designated fire-safe area.

Englebright restrictions

Continued dry, hot conditions have prompted more fire restrictions at Englebright Lake.

The restrictions, effective immediately, limit campfires, charcoal use, portable stove use and smoking.

Campfires, as well as charcoal barbecues and open-flame items, are no longer allowed in Englebright recreation areas. Portable gas stoves may be used, but only in picnic areas and developed campsites.

A 5-foot cleared area is the minimum required to be able to smoke.

More information is available by calling the Englebright Lake Park Office at 432-6427.

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