The Board of Supervisors is slated next week to authorize Riverside County Fire Chief Bill Weiser to close access to six outdoor recreational locations for the duration of wildfire season to minimize public safety risks.
Since 2007, the fire department has sought and received authorization to close designated grounds — located mainly in the central and southwest portions of the county — from June to November.
“Due to the potential for large damaging human-caused fires, the county fire chief has determined these areas should be closed, except on public roadways and on inhabited areas of private property within the closure areas,” according to an agency statement posted to the board’s policy agenda for Tuesday.
Wildfires in any of the locations would be difficult to manage, given the sites’ terrain and remoteness, according to fire officials.
The following locations would fall under the county’s closure order, which would take effect June 14, with board approval:
— Bautista Canyon, southeast of Hemet;
— Eagle Canyon, between Lake Mathews and the county landfill, just north of Cajalco Road;
— Indian Canyon and North Mountain around San Jacinto;
— the Ramona Bowl, south of Hemet;
— Steel Peek, west of Meadowbrook and north of Highway 74; and
— Whitewater Canyon, near Cabazon.
Officials pointed out that the Ramona Bowl would be accessible between sunrise and noon daily, with the area off-limits any other time of day.
By reducing foot and off-road vehicle traffic in each location, the chances of a wildfire starting are much slimmer, according to the fire department.
Closure signs would be posted at entry points to warn potential violators of fines and other penalties. First offenses usually result in a minimum $100 ticket.
Residents would be permitted to come and go as they please.
The closures are usually lifted at year’s end but can be rescinded before then by the chief, depending on the timing of winter rains.
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