The Town Crier published a story in the June 20 edition about fire restrictions imposed by Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) Chief Mark LaMont on June 1, “Open burning, use of campfires, fire permits and the uses of open fire of any kind within the geographic jurisdiction of IFPD are hereby suspended as of the date of this notice,” the article read.
However, Idyllwild residents who visit the Idyllwild County Park and Mt. San Jacinto State Park are expressing concern, given the above statement made by IFPD, when they see campfires or remnants of campfires.
LaMont in an email to the Town Crier on June 17 wrote “These areas do fall in our jurisdictional boundaries. The Riverside County fire chief has also placed restrictions on open fires and all areas of the county are under those restrictions as well.”
For clarification purposes, an email was sent to both Cal Fire’s public information officer and LaMont on Aug. 7 regarding jurisdiction. Cal Fire is the only agency that has responded, “Idyllwild Park is a Riverside County Regional Park. They follow what our Fire Chief’s (Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department) direction is, along with working closely with IFPD and the San Bernardino National Forest Service. They also have rangers that routinely inspect and patrol campgrounds to ensure they are in compliance.”
Cal Fire sent a news release dated June 2 (took effect June 3) with its above response stating, “Campfires may be permitted within organized campgrounds or on private property. Campfires may be permitted if the campfire is maintained in such a manner as to prevent its spread to the wildland.”
The release outlines the restrictions for county area.
• Use of campfires is restricted to within established campfire facilities located in established campgrounds open to the public.
• Agricultural burning in the Palo Verde Valley and Coachella Valley is authorized as required for agricultural rehabilitation.
• Cooking fires with a valid permit are permissive when no alternate means of cooking is available and requires an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit.
• Warming fires are permissive and require an on-site inspection prior to the issuance of a permit when weather conditions exist to justify the request.
In addition, “state rangers or other authorized agents of the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection may issue restricted temporary burning permits whenever it can be shown that burning or use of open fire is essential for reasons of public health, safety, or welfare.”
The order will remain in effect until Cal Fire Chief Shawn Newman formally terminates the proclamation.