John Miller of the San Bernardino National Forest has shared the following warning for the visitors to the San Jacinto Ranger District.

Fire Danger Elevated to “Very High” on the San Bernardino National Forest — Fire Restrictions Increased

Fire Danger increases with the unseasonable warmer, drier weather along with persistent Santa Ana wind conditions. Weather forecasts show that temperatures will continue to be slightly above normal coupled with infrequent storms and long stretches of little or no precipitation for the next few months. This will allow the finer grasses and lighter fuels to cure sooner increasing the potential for large fires.

Fire officials are closely monitoring the weather and fuel conditions, adjusting staffing levels, and increasing or lowering fire use restrictions as deemed necessary.

“During the recent wind events, firefighters responded to several fires during the evening hours, which is very unusual for this time of the year, which demonstrates how dry the fuels are,” stated Forest Fire Chief Shawna Legarza. “We will continue to maintain an increased firefighter staffing level until there is a significant change in the weather,” Legarza added.

Fire restrictions and guidelines effective January 13, 2012 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
Holcomb Crossing
Little Bear Springs
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.

Fireworks are always prohibited on the San Bernardino National Forest.

The US Forest Service will be aggressively citing 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.