Hot weather and lower fuel moisture have prompted the San Bernardino National Forest to increase fire restrictions, effective Thursday Sept. 1, 2011.

Forest officials took these steps to prevent human-caused fires and raise public awareness as the summer continues to get warmer and drier. Most wildfires on the San Bernardino National Forest are human-caused and increased restrictions are designed to reduce wildland fires.

Forest visitors are reminded to exercise caution when visiting the National Forest and maintain a higher level of awareness with the increased fire risk. Travelers through the forest should remain on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass.

“As we head into hotter and drier conditions, we ask the public’s cooperation helping us prevent destructive wildfires” said Fire Chief Shauna Legarza. “We want visitors to enjoy their public lands, but use common sense in the process.”

Fire restrictions and guidelines effective Sept. 1, 2011 on the San Bernardino National Forest are as follows:

  • Wood and charcoal fires are permitted only in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds and within agency provided fire rings or camp stoves;
  • Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted at Yellow Post campsites, Fisherman’s Camp, or the following Pacific Crest Trail Camps — Bench Camp, Deer Springs, Doble, Holcomb Crossing, Little Bear Springs and Mission Springs;
  • Campfire permits are required for propane and gas stoves and lanterns used outside of developed recreation sites;
  • Recreational shooting is limited to public shooting ranges operated under special use permit only, except those engaged in legal hunting;
  • An approved spark arrester is required for any internal combustion engine operated on designated forest routes. These include chainsaws, generators, motorcycles, and off-highway vehicles;
  • Smoking is limited to an enclosed vehicle or building, or within a developed recreation site; and
  • Fireworks are always prohibited on the San Bernardino National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service will aggressively cite those who do not comply with the posted restrictions. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law. Persons may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.

Forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and call ahead to the local ranger station to check on location conditions and restrictions at the following offices:

  • San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, (909) 382-2600
  • Idyllwild Ranger Station, 54270 Pine Crest, Idyllwild, (909) 382-2922
  • Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, 51-500 Highway 74 Palm Desert, (760) 862-9984.