Visitors reminded to be careful with fire this Memorial Day weekend
WILLOWS, Calif. – Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer recreation season, enjoying your National Forest – whether it’s taking a hike, going fishing or enjoying a camping trip and sleeping under the stars.
This weekend, the employees of the Mendocino National Forest want to remind visitors to have a safe visit and be careful with fire or anything that can throw a spark in the forest.
“Even though we have had some storms and a little rain in the mountains over the past week, overall conditions continue to be dry and there hasn’t been measurable snowpack in months,” said Forest Fire Management Officer Curtis Coots. “This means the forest is already seeing an increased risk of wildfires and this is happening earlier than usual.”
The Forest is not currently in fire restrictions, but fuel conditions are being monitored closely. As the summer continues, visitors should check the status of fire conditions before starting a trip to the forest.
While campfires are still allowed, they should be started, managed and extinguished safely.
– Flammable materials should be cleared from the ground for 5 feet in all directions from the edge of the fire and a shovel and water should be kept nearby.
– The fire should be small – roughly the size of a 2-foot cube.
– Campfires should be supervised by a knowledgeable and responsible adult until it is completely extinguished.
ü The fire should be dead out and completely cold before leaving.
“Unfortunately, abandoned campfires are our biggest challenge on Memorial Day, as people head home without successfully putting out their campfire,” said Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson.
“Each year our firefighters find dozens of campfires left burning on the forest. All it takes is one to spread into a devastating wildfire, which impacts valuable natural resources and recreation opportunities for years afterwards,” Carlson said.
More information on campfire safety, as well as campfire permits, can be found at www.preventwildfireca.org.
“Remember, one less spark – one less wildfire. Whether it’s a gas stove, campfire or ensuring that you aren’t creating a spark, paying attention can help dramatically reduce the risk of human-caused fires on the Forest,” Coots said. “By doing this we can help preserve not only public and firefighter safety, but also the areas of the forest we all enjoy.”
While the weather is warming up at lower elevations, visitors should be prepared for changing conditions and cooler nighttime temperatures in the mountains. Bring layered clothing and plenty of food and water on your outdoor adventure. Tell someone where you are planning on going, which routes you plan on taking and when you plan on being back.
“We want everyone to have a safe and memorable Memorial Day weekend, especially those joining us on the Forest,” said Carlson.