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Tinder-dry vegetation, lingering drought conditions, increasing daytime temperatures, and recent human-caused fires have prompted the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest from Bridgeport north to begin fire restrictions on Monday, June 18, 2010, at 12:01 a.m., and lasting until further notice.
As of June 14, 2012, the Inyo National Forest that surrounds Mammoth Lakes and reaches down to Lone Pine is not under any fire restrictions. That could change as the forest continues to dry out.
But the Humboldt Toiyabe forest tends to be drier, due to its comparatively lower elevation, and that is what has prompted the fire restrictions on the Humboldt-Toiyabe.
â€śA large crop of grass and brush is evident at lower elevations and trees and other forest vegetation at higher elevations are quickly drying out,â€ť said Grace Newell, Fire Management Officer on the Bridgeport Ranger District.
. â€śThe campfire that you forget to extinguish today could very well become the wildfire in your backyard tomorrow,â€ť she said.
Fire Restrictions Prohibit:
â€˘ Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire, or stove fire except a portable stove using gas or pressurized liquid fuel, outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by permit).
â€˘ Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.
â€˘ Welding, or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.
â€˘ Using or causing to be used, any explosive, except by permit.
â€˘ Possession or use of fireworks (always prohibited), or any other incendiary device.
â€˘ Use of tracer rounds, steel-core ammunition or exploding targets while recreational shooting.
â€˘ Open burning (e.g. weeds, brush and yard debris).
â€˘ Cross-country travel is not allowed on National Forests; preventing grass from igniting from hot exhaust systems is critical, and ATV/OHV enthusiasts should be prepared by bringing an axe, shovel and a gallon of water. Individuals should carry cell phones while visiting National Forests to report wild fires to the Interagency Dispatch Center, in Minden, Nevada, 775-883-5995, or dial 911.
â€˘ All areas, roads and trails within the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, with the exception of using campfires within the approved fire pits or grills provided in open Fee Recreation sites (see the following lists). National Forest visitors are reminded that the charcoal grills cannot be used during fire restrictions. Charcoal burns longer and hotter than wood and may appear to be cold; however, embers can linger for hours. Winds can spread the embers from charcoal and campfires into vegetation, igniting a wildfire. Propane or white gas stoves, however, are acceptable for use during fire restrictions.
The Forest Service may cite those who do not comply with the posted restrictions. As a reminder, use or possession of fireworks on National Forests is against the law. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law (agency statutes vary). Persons may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs, and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.
For more information or clarification on the fire restrictions, please contact the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisorâ€™s Office at 775-331-6444 in Sparks, the Carson Ranger District at 775-882-2766, or the Bridgeport Ranger District at 760-932-7070. Questions may also be directed to Bridgeport Ranger Districtâ€™s Fire Management Officer, Grace Newell, at 760-932-7070, or Carson Ranger Districtâ€™s Assistant District Fire Management Officer, Paul Washam, at 530-694-2142.