Weekend heat wave prompts fire restrictions

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SAN DIEGO — Fire restrictions will be in effect for the Cleveland National Forest, starting Friday, due to 100-degree-plus heat and dry conditions forecast to persist through the weekend.

When conditions are ripe for an uncontrolled wildfire, the Forest Service officials use a fire danger rating system, sometimes called the Smokey Bear fire danger level, to determine the likelihood of a fire breaking out within 24 hours.

cleveland-national-forest“When you see a Smokey Bear sign that states the ‘Fire Danger Today is Very High,’ you need to know that the likelihood of a wildfire starting, then quickly developing into a large fire, is a strong possibility,” Forest Service fire Chief Carlton Joseph stated. “The public needs to be extremely careful when recreating within the forest during periods of high, very high and extreme fire danger.”

The restrictions apply to activities that have caused fires, including firework use, wood or charcoal fires outside of designated campgrounds or picnic areas with fire rings, activities that require special-use permits, such as welding, grinding or cutting; and motorized vehicles that require muffler spark arrestors.

Smoking is banned, except for in an enclosed vehicle or building in a developed recreation site.

Lanterns or stoves that run on liquid or jellied fuels are banned in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness area and the Trabuco Ranger District.

Shooting is banned, including target practice, except for in designated hunting areas during particular hunting seasons.

Any area deemed especially susceptible to a wildfire could be closed all together.

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