Los Padres National Forest officials announced that the forest order prohibiting recreational shooting except in permitted gun ranges has been extended until June 30.
The extension is to provide for public safety due to continuing high fire danger conditions and the potential for a wildfire sparked by target shooting.
With minimal winter rainfall to date, live fuel moisture levels across the forest have not significantly rebounded from last year and remain near critical levels. Predictive weather forecasts indicate persistent, strong offshore wind events through the spring that will likely further reduce fuel moisture levels.
Long-range weather models have consistently shown well below normal precipitation and drier than average weather with a high likelihood of elevated temperatures through the spring months. If these forecasts are accurate, fire activity could occur weeks earlier this year.
Under the order, discharging a firearm is prohibited except in the designated target ranges at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and the Ojai Valley Gun Club. Persons hunting during the open hunting season as specified in the laws of the State of California and having a valid California hunting license are exempt from the order.
A violation of this prohibition is 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, or both.
For additional information, please visit the Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/lpnf/home.
— Gerry Fall