Pursuant to several federal codes that provide for public safety and protect natural resources, Los Padres Forest has taken action to prohibit a number of acts within the forest. The law is effective Saturday, January 11, and will be in place through the end of the official 2014 fire season. This is one of the earliest times in which such restrictions have been put into effect and is due to the continuing drought, now in its third season, and lack of any measurable rainfall recently.
Prohibitions include building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire except in designated campfire use sites; smoking, except in enclosed buildings, vehicles or designated campfire use sites; and operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order.
The violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months. These restrictions will definitely impact backcountry campers, who will not be allowed to build campfires while these restrictions are in place. Stoves are allowed with a valid fire permit, which may be obtained at the Forest Supervisor’s Office and district offices.