QUINCEY, CA – The Plumas National Forest is moving into phase two of its fire restrictions tomorrow Thursday, August 4.
Despite the recent thunderstorms and rain, the fire danger is steadily increasing. Extended hot, dry summer weather has dried up forest fuels.
The extended outlook in the mountains includes dry weather and high temperatures ranging from the low 80s to the low 90s.
In the second phase of fire restrictions, campfires are only permitted at designated recreational sites with a camp host, in established campfire rings. The locations are listed in Exhibit A of the closing order.
Smoking is permitted only inside an enclosed vehicle or building, in one of the designated recreation sites listed in Figure A, or an area of at least 3 feet in diameter that is completely free of all flammable materials.
In addition, internal combustion engines, such as vehicles and generators, may only be used on designated roads and trails. Boat engines on the water are exempt.
The use of a chainsaw for firewood is still permitted with the expectation that operation of the chainsaw from designated roads and trails is minimal. Lumberjacks need to make sure they check the condition of their logs every day before cutting by calling 1-800-847-7766. For the latest information on the Plumas National Forest Firewood Program, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/plumas/passes-permits/forestproducts.
It is forbidden to solder or operate acetylene or other open flame igniter.
Possession of a valid California Campfire Residence Permit is no exception to the prohibition. However, they can use portable camp pits, stoves, or lanterns that use gas, kerosene, petroleum jelly, or compressed liquid fuels as long as it has a working shut-off valve and is used in an area at least 3 feet away from any flammable materials.
California Campfire permits are free and available at Forest Service and CAL Fire offices or online at https://permit.preventwildfiresca.org/.
“The Plumas National Forest has been hit by massive impacts from wildfires over the past five years,” said Mitch Wilson, Assistant Fire Department Officer at Plumas National Forest. “We are currently expanding our working hours due to the increased fire risk, as well as lightning activity over the past few weeks. The Plumas family has so far been fortunate to have had minor effects from lightning strikes and quick responses to lightning strikes and other fires by prairie firefighters.”
Although not a regular occurrence, an increase in staffing from all resources and regular 24-hour staffing has been an investment by the Plumas National Forest this fire season to help ensure a rapid response to the wildfires. This has included during periods of prolonged heat, periods of high recreational use, as well as recent thunderstorms.
Last weekend, the Mount Hough and Beckwourth Ranger areas entered Lightning plans, meaning that lightning was plentiful and there was the potential for multiple fires requiring response.
Firefighters continue to patrol for fires from those storms, which can burn for more than two weeks before igniting and becoming visible.
“By helping prevent human-caused bushfires, we are not only protecting forests and communities from wildfire dangers, but also allowing wildland firefighters to focus on responding to lightning fires and other threats,” Wilson said. “We appreciate the cooperation of area residents and visitors following the second phase of the fire restrictions and helping us prevent human-caused bushfires this fire season.”
Suspected wildfires can be reported by calling 911.
The order is officially referred to as the closing order number 05-11-22-02. Violations of the prohibitions are punishable by a fine of no more than $5,000 per person or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or both.
For more information about the Plumas National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/plumas, or follow the forest on Twitter @USFSPlumas or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas.