As of Friday, June 28, as the seasonal fire danger rises, forest officials are increasing fire use restrictions on the San Bernardino National Forest.

This past winter the forest experienced less than average winter snow and rainfall as a result of the second year of a drought, and the seasonal outlook again expects a warmer and drier summer with below-average summer “monsoonal” rains, potentially creating large fires.

Forest officials are taking steps to prevent human-caused fires and raise public awareness. Most SBNF wildfires are human-caused and increased restrictions are designed to reduce them. 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 and visitors are asked to do the following to prevent wildland fires:
• Be informed and abide by all fire restrictions.
• Vehicles should always remain on designated roads and never parked on dry brush or grass.
• Report all suspicious activities to law enforcement
SBNF fire officials have imposed these fire restrictions and guidelines:
• 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, Cedar Springs 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 all 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 SBNF.

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 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 NF Supervisor’s Office, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, (909) 382-2600; Idyllwild Ranger Station, 54270 Pine Crest, Idyllwild, (909) 382-2922.