San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Ricraider (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Ricraider (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fire restrictions on the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument will be downgraded from “very high” to “high” Friday, a U.S. Forest Service fire chief said on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, current restrictions on fire-causing activities will remain in place with the new designation, according to USFS spokesperson Nathan Judy. The lowered level is meant primarily to let the public know recent rains have made fire danger a bit less significant.

Fire Chief for the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument James Hall said the future may bring more rain and even more fire-danger reductions.

“While the next two weeks are expected to be drier and warmer, long range prognostications are showing near to above normal precipitation should continue for several more weeks,” said

“With that we are lowering the fire danger on the Forest and Monument from very high to high,” Hall said.

Fire restrictions on the Angeles National Forest are determined by a graduated system that becomes more restrictive as fire danger levels increase and decrease when the conditions change, Judy said.

The “low” fire danger level is the lowest level of a six-level, graduated fire danger rating system, Judy said. A variety of factors determine the level, including the moisture in vegetation, weather conditions and nationwide firefighting equipment and personnel needs.

Several strong storm systems brought widespread rains across the forest during the middle of the month. However, snowpack continues to be a bit behind normal over some areas due to the warm origin of the storms, Judy said. USFS Fire requirements in effect for the foreseeable future include:

— Wood or charcoal fires are allowed only in developed campgrounds and developed picnics areas within designated fire rings.

— White gas, jellied or propane-type camp stoves and lanterns used outside of developed recreation sites are permitted with a valid California Campfire Permit.

— Spark-arresting equipment, required year-round, should be checked to make sure the equipment is in good working order on all off-road vehicles, chain saws and anything with an internal combustion engine.

— Fireworks are prohibited on Angeles National Forest year round.

— Discharging of firearms is prohibited in the forest except for the purpose of hunting during the designated hunting season as established by the California Department of Fish and Game.

— Target shooting is only allowed within designated areas in the forest. Steel core ammunition, armor piercing ammunition and tracer ammunition are never allowed in the Angeles National Forest.

— Smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles in developed recreation sites.

— Welding, grinding and cutting are allowed only with a permit.

City News Service

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