U.S. Forest Service officials Thursday raised the fire danger level from “very high” to “extreme” in the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which is the second-highest of the six fire danger levels.

“One reason for this change is to enhance public awareness of the threat wildfires pose to the health and safety of the forest and those who enjoy it,” said Nathan Judy of the USFS.

Another reason for the change is that current and long-range weather predictions indicate above-normal temperatures, and below-average relative humidity and precipitation — coupled with periods of strong, gusty Santa Ana winds, Judy said.

“By restricting the use of fire throughout the forest — and increasing staffing levels — the objective is to reduce the potential of a catastrophic wildfire starting,” said Angeles Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia.

The restrictions include prohibitions on:

— building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, throughout the national forest and national monument;

— smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials;

— and welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.

For a list of all fire restrictions, visit the website www.fs.usda.gov/angeles.

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