SEKI Forest Fire Officials Elevate Campfire Restrictions: No Campfires Allowed

It is no secret that there is an extended, severe drought in California. Thunderstorms have already started several wildfires started by lightning strikes and more are expected over the next several months. Given the seriousness of the situation, coupled with the fact that most wildfires are caused by human activity, there is a prohibition on campfires whether in developed or non-developed campsites on many forest lands.

(Update & correction 7/03/2021): Inyo National Forest is in Stage 2: Very High Risk which is still allowing campfires only in fire pits provided in developed campgrounds. Sequoia National Forest is in Stage 3: Extremely High Risk with no campfires allow in either developed or undeveloped campgrounds and site.

In a press release, effective June 30, USDA Sequoia National Forest fire officials announced that they will raise campfire restrictions due to extreme fire danger. The increased restrictions prohibit the use of Campfires in the Forest, including developed and non-developed campsites. Current and forecasted weather, coupled with arid conditions, have created substantial, hazardous fire potential. These conditions are anticipated to continue into the foreseeable future as drought conditions persist.

The restrictions are deemed necessary to protect public safety and prevent human-caused wildfires. Forest officials consider current and predicted weather, fuel conditions, fire activity levels, and available resources before implementing fire restrictions.

June 30 through November 30, 2021, the following restrictions are in effect.

  • No Campfires will be allowed on Forest Service Land in Stage 3: Extreme Conditions

Visitors with a valid California Campfire Permit may use a portable stove or lantern that uses gas, kerosene, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel, with a shut-off valve, in an area at least three feet from any flammable materials. Free campfire permits are available at www.readyforwildfire.org/prevent-wildfire/campfire-safety/.

  • No Smoking is permitted, except within an enclosed vehicle.
  • No motorized vehicles off properly designated Forest Service roads or trails.
  • No welding, operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
  • Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer rounds, and other incendiary ammunition or devices are not allowed in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument at any time. This includes sparklers or safe and sane fireworks.

Fire restriction violation is punishable by a fine of no more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or incarceration for not more than six months, or both.

Know Before You Go! Check current conditions by visiting the Sequoia National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia, emailing [email protected], or calling your district’s visitor center at:

  • Hume Lake Ranger District visitor’s center in Dunlap
    Mondays and Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., (559) 338-2251
  • Western Divide Ranger District visitor’s center in Springville
    Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., (559) 539-2607
  • Kern River Ranger District visitor’s center in Kernville
    Daily 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., (760) 376-3781
  • Blackrock Station on Sherman Pass
    Thursday and h Monday 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
  • Forest Headquarters visitor’s center in Porterville
    Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., (559) 784-1500

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7 Responses to SEKI Forest Fire Officials Elevate Campfire Restrictions: No Campfires Allowed

  1. Inyolocal395 July 3, 2021 at 9:44 am #

    Fake news. This applies to another forest not the Inyo. Correct me if I’m wrong

     
    • Charles James July 3, 2021 at 10:49 am #

      The article states “there is a prohibition on campfires whether in developed or non-developed campsites on “many forest lands”. Also, further states under Updates: “Inyo National Forest is in Stage 2: Very High Risk, which is still allowing campfires only in fire pits provided in developed campgrounds. Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI) is in Stage 3: Extreme Risk–No Campfires in or out of developed campgrounds.” You stand corrected in that it is not “fake” news, but you are correct that “This applies to another forest not the Inyo.” Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks fire officials are clearly identified in the article as banning all campfires in or out of developed recreational campgrounds.

       
  2. Fred Stump July 2, 2021 at 4:25 pm #

    Just checked the Inyo National Forest website. It states that campfires are still allowed in Developed Recreation Sites and Campgrounds located on the Inyo National Forest.

     
    • Charles James July 3, 2021 at 8:00 am #

      Thanks, Fred. We hope you are enjoying retirement from the Mono Board of Supervisors but appreciate that you remain involved in public discourse.
      While “one-size-fits-all” policies can often prove overly-restrictive—even harmful—in some instances, that may not be true of wildfire restrictions at this time in the Eastern Sierra. This is especially true now in the counties and forests of the Eastern Sierra when it and the state is in some stage of moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions. The danger is especially true of Inyo County which is in “Exceptional Drought” according to Drought.gov, putting it in very high to extreme danger of wildfires.
      While “ignorance of the law” is not an excuse, differing regulations are confusing, if not irresponsible, to the public when traveling from one county to another or from one city, town or jurisdiction to another, especially those with contiguous borders. Same problem with personal fireworks policies. There is no “win-win” position because there always seems to be “someone” who ignores rules set in place to safeguard the property and lives of others, whether out of a misplaced sense of entitlement, a warped, selfish view of their “individual rights and freedoms,” or just a plain lack of commonsense, too often fueled by alcohol or other substances. All we can do is hope no serious outbreak of wildfires occur as the result of human activity which, according to the National Park Service, triggers 85% to 90% of wildfires.

       
  3. BobK July 2, 2021 at 1:30 pm #

    So lets ban alcohol too.

     
  4. Tinner June 30, 2021 at 4:58 pm #

    I love celebrating Independence Day with fireworks as much as anyone, but aren’t we sending conflicting messages when we have firework stands selling fireworks but tell visitors they can’t have a campfire?

     
    • Dark Watcher July 1, 2021 at 8:40 am #

      Especially when fireworks and alcohol are mixed together to produce poor judgement.

       

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