With recent winter weather across the southland, forest officials on the San Bernardino National Forest reduced fire restrictions Wednesday, Feb. 22 and will resume winter burning projects.

“We will continue to monitor the weather and fuel conditions across the landscape and change restriction levels as conditions warrant,” said Fire Prevention Officer Randy Unkovich.

Under the reduced fire restrictions, visitors may have wood and charcoal fires in agency-provided campfire rings at campgrounds, picnic areas and yellow post sites. Recreational target shooting is permitted within designated sites in the Big Bear area and permitted areas on the San Jacinto Ranger District.

Current fire restriction and guidelines in effect on the San Bernardino National Forest are as follows:
• Wood and charcoal campfires are allowed only in developed campgrounds, picnic areas and Yellow Post campsites within agency-provided fire rings or designated stoves.
• Campfire permits are required for propane and gas stoves and lanterns used outside of developed recreation sites.
• Recreational shooting is limited to designated sites and public shooting ranges operated under special use permit only, except those engaged in legal hunting.
• The 1N09 Recreational Shooting area remains closed.
• 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 enclosed vehicles, developed recreation sites and areas cleared of vegetation, three feet in diameter.
• Fireworks are always prohibited on the San Bernardino National Forest. Tracer, armor piercing, steel core, and Teflon ammunitions are also prohibited, as is discharging a firearm at any exploding target.

Winter burning projects also will resume as part of a continuing effort to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health, the San Bernardino National Forest has started this season’s prescribed burning program. The prescribed fire program will continue through the winter months as weather and conditions permit.

The ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, appropriate conditions, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) before and during prescribed burns in order to manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible.

Fire managers follow a burn plan that outlines the “prescription” or environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation, and relative humidity that need to be present before the project begins. When the criteria are met, crews implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets the goals and objectives outlined by managers.

To find out where burns may be occurring, the public can call local Forest Service offices at the following numbers:

Idyllwild Ranger Station (909) 382-2922
Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (760) 862-9984