Sequoia National Forest Officials Issue Fire Restrictions
Hume Lake, Kern River and Western Divide Ranger Districts now under fire restrictions.
PORTERVILLE, Calif., July 27, 2017 - Campfire and smoking restrictions will be implemented on the Sequoia National Forest, Giant Sequoia National Monument beginning Friday, July 28, 2017 until further notice. These restrictions are deemed necessary to protect public safety and prevent human-caused wildfires.
According to Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott, campfires below 4,000 feet will not be allowed within the Sequoia National Forest or Giant Sequoia National Monument. “The Sequoia National Forest is experiencing unprecedented tree mortality, with approximately 600,000 acres affected. These conditions, coupled with twice the normal spring precipitation resulted in a heavy grass fuel load.”
Criteria, officials consider before implementing fire restrictions include current and predicted weather, fuels conditions, fire activity levels and available resources.
Under Forest Orders 0513-17-25 and 0513-17-14 the following is prohibited below 4,000 feet in the Sequoia Nation Forest except in areas listed as exempt:
- No Campfires or charcoal fires are allowed, except, in designated campgrounds and areas posted as “Exempt Areas” in the Forest Order exhibits and with a valid California Campfire Permit. Visit www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/notices/?cid=FSEPRD539396 for a list of exempt areas. Free Campfire Permits are available at Forest Service offices and www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit.
- No Smoking is permitted, except within enclosed vehicles or buildings, developed recreation sites and other designated areas as listed in the Forest Order exhibits.
- Operating an internal combustion engine off of properly designated roads or trails and welding are all strictly prohibited during the increased fire restriction period.
Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer rounds and other incendiary ammunition or devices are not allowed on the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument at any time. This includes sparklers and so-called safe and sane fireworks.
Visitors, with a valid California Campfire Permit, may use portable stoves and lanterns with shut-off valves, using pressurized gas, liquid fuel, or propane in the general forest areas. Forest visitors must clear all flammable material five feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when in use.
Violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of no more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or incarceration for not more than six months, or both.
California Campfire Permits are required for any source of flame or fire and are available for free at all Forest Service offices or online at www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit. Campfires must be attended by a responsible person at all times and completely extinguished after use.
Human-caused fires can be prevented. One less spark can mean one less wildfire. Do your part to prevent wildfires. To learn more visit www.preventwildfireca.org/one-less-spark-one-less-wildfire.
Forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and call ahead to the local ranger station for local conditions, regulations and bans. For more information contact your local ranger station or visit the Sequoia National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia or call 559-784-1500.
Kennedy Meadows Trails Reopened
Kennedy Meadows campgrounds, trails and roads have been closed the past couple of weeks due the Schaeffer Fire.
On July 25 the Forest Service reopened all trails and campgrounds in Kennedy Meadows with the exception of Sherman Pass Jeep Road, the bottom end of Rattlesnake and North Meadow Trail. These three trails are still in the process of being clearing from last winters downed trees.
Many thanks to the Stewards members who spent 640 hours clearing over 250 trail blocking trees as large as four foot diameter so the Kennedy Meadows Trails could be opened. So far this year Stewards members have volunteered 1500 hours clearing 678 downed trees, maintaining 400 water bars and brushing on over 200 miles of trails so you can continue to enjoy them.
Your donations are needed to fund Stewards Trail Appreciation Program to clear downed trees.
Learn how you can volunteer to help keep your trails open.
Bakersfield Trailblazer 4x4 sawyers and volunteers plan to clear trees from the Sherman Pass Jeep Road so it can be opened. Contact Jeremy Rowell to help
Evans Flat and Greenhorns Open But Cedar Fire Area Trails Remain Closed
- Portuguese Pass Trail and Bull Run Trails remain closed due to damage from the Cedar fire and should reopen in August.
- Evans Flat and Just Outstanding are open, as well as all trails in the area.
Breckenridge Road Open
Keyesville Area is open
- A great area to camp and access trails is right alongside the Kern River by Isabella on 155
- Free Camping and lots to do.
Free Wood Gathering Permits - In an effort to help remove excessive dead wood from the Sequoia the Forest Service has cut wood available and free wood cutting permits. Call (760) 376-3781 for more information
PORTERVILLE, Calif., July 28, 2017 – The Sequoia National Forest, which includes the Giant Sequoia National Monument, will continue to issue Free “Personal Use” Firewood Permits through November 30, 2017. According to Forest Officials, the free permit may only be used on dead firewood material (without green leaves or needles) within the Sequoia National Forest.
To reduce the volume of debris laying on the ground, which creates a fire hazard, the Forest Service is offering free wood permits for the rest of the summer. “As most people are aware, the combination of drought and insects have caused heavy tree mortality across the Forest,” said Forest Supervisor Kevin Elliott. “The personal use wood cutting program is one means for reducing the hazardous material on the ground, and we want to make that program as productive as possible.”
Forest Service scientists expect to see continued elevated levels of tree mortality during 2017 in dense forest stands, stands impacted by root diseases or other stress agents and in areas with higher levels of bark beetle activity.
Permits and location maps are available at the Hume Lake, Western Divide, Kernville Ranger stations, Lake Isabella Office and the Forest Supervisor’s Office in Porterville.
Most notable rules and regulations that apply to the Free Firewood Permits:
- Permits are valid April 1, 2017 – November 30, 2017.
- One permit issued per person, with a ten-cord limit this season.
- Cutting with a chainsaw will only be permitted within 50 feet of the road
- Cutting or removing redwood (Giant Sequoia) trees or downed redwood material is prohibited.
- The wood collected is not for commercial use.
- Only dead firewood material (without green leaves or needles) may be taken.
- Cutting and loading of firewood are permitted only during daylight hours.
- Individuals are required to maintain a product removal record each day per removal site.
- Permittees removing forest firewood must be in possession of the permit during woodcutting.
- A load receipt must be attached to the load before leaving the wood cutting site.
- A permit is not valid in campgrounds or areas posted closed to wood cutting unless authorized by the District Ranger in writing.
- Do not cut trees that are marked with paint or wildlife tree tags.
- Permits are only valid on the Sequoia National Forest, which includes the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
- Standing dead trees (snags with no green showing in the crown) can be cut between JUNE 1 and OCTOBER 15. Provided they are no larger than 15 inches in diameter at ground level. Leave a stump height of less than 12 inches from the ground on the high side of a tree.
- Hume Lake Ranger District allows cutting and removing fuelwood from the following campgrounds: Princess, Hume Lake, Ten Mile, Buck Rock, and Eshom with a valid free use fuelwood permit, Monday through Thursday 8 am to 4 pm.
- Standing dead oak trees may NOT be cut on the Hume Lake Ranger District.
For MORE information about Keyesville contact the BLM at (661) 391-6000
For MORE information about all other areas contact the Forest Service at (760) 376-3781