Ban on wood and charcoal fires remains in effect
Los Padres National Forest officially reopened to the public Thursday morning, ending a three-week closure that was enacted due to high wildfire danger..
The reopening will allow visitors to once again enjoy the forest’s campgrounds and trails, though certain restrictions remain in place. According to the forest website, fire restrictions that ban wood and charcoal fire remain in effect.
Some restrictions have been lifted in the reopening, which will allow visitors with a California Campfire Permit to use portable lanterns and stoves with a shut-off valve in developed campgrounds and dispersed sites, according to the forest website.
The forest was closed as part of a regional order that went into effect Aug. 31, which closed 20 million acres of California’s national forests due to severe wildfire conditions. In addition to Los Padres, three other national forests — Angeles, Cleveland and San Bernardino — also reopened Thursday.
Andrew Madsen, the public affairs officer for the Forest Service, told the News-Press that local residents can help to ensure the forest stays open by following the current restrictions and guidelines in place for fire safety.
“We’re always encouraging everyone to follow the rules in place,” he said. “Have a good time, but be safe while you’re doing it.”
He noted that the Forest Service will remain on “high alert” during this fire season, as September and October are traditionally the high fire danger months in Los Padres.
Mr. Madsen also acknowledged that part of the reason the forest was able to reopen this week has to do with the containment of fires in Northern California. He explained that a lot of the Forest Service resources were deployed to assist with the Dixie Fire, so if a fire broke out in Los Padres, the Forest Service would not have the ample amount of resources readily available to fight it.
Fortunately, the Dixie Fire was 94% contained as of Thursday, and Los Padres now has enough support available if a wildfire were to occur, Mr. Madsen said.
For more information on the forest reopening, visit fs.usda.gov/lpnf.