Sunday, 04 December 2022

Mendocino National Forest imposes fire restrictions

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Officials of the Mendocino National Forest are setting special fire restrictions on the national forest because of the risk of large fires due to very dry conditions in forest vegetation.

The fire prevention measures went into effect Monday morning and continue through the end of fire season, according to Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras.

The forest has already experienced 58 wildland fires in June and July. Nine of those are still actively burning in the Soda and Yolla Bolly Complexes.

The forest is putting the temporary fire restrictions into place about three weeks earlier than normal this year to lessen the danger of human-caused fires. Extremely low snow and rain levels and recent hot, dry summer weather have caused the vegetation to dry out. Hot weather is expected to continue through July, August and September, resulting in increased fire danger.

"By concentrating open campfires in designated recreation sites it should help minimize the potential of accidental ignition of wildland fires," Contreras said.

Under these fire restrictions, Mendocino National Forest visitors will be allowed to continue to ride off highway vehicles on designated roads and trails, provided they are equipped with the required spark arresting devices.

Persons with valid personal use wood cutting permits may use chain saws only on established roads and designated trails; they will need to take the wood to be cut to those areas. All engines must be equipped with spark-arresting devices.

Similar restrictions have already gone into effect on other nearby Forests. Each forest, however, has slightly different restrictions, so visitors are urged to contact the forest they plan to visit to learn the measures required at that location.

Effective at 6 a.m. July 14, the temporary fire restrictions on the Mendocino National Forest will:

  • Limit open campfires, which include charcoal fires, to developed campgrounds and some other designated fire safe recreation sites within the Mendocino National Forest (listed below). No campfire permits are needed for fires in developed campgrounds, but are required for the other designated firesafe recreational sites. These other sites will be marked with yellow signs and public informationposters. Lanterns or portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be allowed in all other areas on the national forest, BUT the person must have a current valid California Campfire Permit in their possession. Barbecue grills using briquettes are NOT permitted in these other areas. People should check with the office of the Forest or District they will be visiting to ensure they will haveaccess to a particular area.

  • Limit smoking to enclosed vehicles, buildings and designated recreational sites.

  • Prohibit the operation of internal combustion engines except on established roads and designated trails.

  • Prohibit welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

  • Prohibit the use of explosives.

Persons who have a special use permit from the Forest Service specifically authorizing the prohibited activities will be allowed to continue.

California Campfire Permits are free and available at all Forest Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), and Bureau of Land Management offices, and from campground hosts and most Forest Service field personnel. The campfire permit ensures the recipient gets information about the terms of the permit and the current conditions of vegetation. By accepting the permit, the permittee agrees to:

  • Clear all flammable material away from the campfire or stove for a minimum of five feet in all directions.

  • Prevent escape of the fire and have a responsible person in attendance at all times.

  • Have a shovel available at the camp site for preparing and extinguishing campfires.

  • Drown the campfire with water and be sure all burning material has been extinguished and cool. Feel the coals and ashes and make sure no roots are burning. Never bury a fire with dirt – it may smolder and break out again. Crush out cigarettes on something that does not burn, such as a rock (not on a log or on the ground).

Designated campgrounds where open campfires are allowed and California Campfire Permits are not needed are:

  • Covelo Ranger District: Eel River, Little Doe, Howard Lake and Hammerhorn Lake campgrounds.

  • Grindstone Ranger District: north end campgrounds: Whitlock, Kingsley Glade, Sugarfoot Glade, Three Prong, Wells Cabin, Sugar Springs, and Red Bluff Recreation Area.

  • Grindstone Ranger District south end campgrounds: Big Springs Day Use Area, Letts Lake, Mill Valley, Dixie Glade, Plaskett Meadows, Masterson, Little Stony, Grey Pine, Fouts Springs, Davis Flat, South Fork, Cedar Camp, Mill Creek, North Fork and Old Mill.

  • Upper Lake Ranger District campgrounds: Fuller Grove, Fuller Group Camp, Navy Camp, Pogie Point, Oak Flat, Sunset, Middle Creek, Deer Valley, Bear Creek, Penny Pines, Lower Nye and Lake Pillsbury Summer Home Sites.

Other recreation sites are designated as fire safe (open fires allowed), and where Campfire Permits are required are:

  • Upper Lake Ranger District: Pine Mountain Hunter Camp, Pinnacle Rock Camp, Spruce Grove Camp, Sanhedrin Hunter Camp, Dry Oak Camp, Lakeview Camp and Pine Mountain Lookout.

  • Covelo Ranger District: Surveyor Camp, Rock Cabin, Green Springs, Rattle Snake and Post Camp.

  • Grindstone Ranger District: Dead Mule, Kenny Camp, Del Harleson, Brewers Oak, One Bee, Black Jack, Side Rod, Government Flat, January Camp, Post Pile, Williams Camp, Howell Saddle, Big Stump, Rocky Cabin, Browns Camp, Ides Cove Horse Packer and Back Packer Camps.

Persons without a permit may be subject to a fine, six months in jail, or both. If a person is found to have caused a wildfire anywhere on the national forest, they can be held liable for suppressioncosts.

For more information about the use of fire on the National Forest contact any Mendocino National Forest office or facility, or call 530-934-3316, TTY 530-934-7724.

Additional information can also be obtained from the Mendocino National Forest Web site at


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