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New fire-prevention rules for Los Padres

Santa Barbara News-Press 20 September 2005

Scott Hadly

NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER

Because of continued hot and dry conditions in Los Padres National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service has announced even stricter rules to prevent wildfires.

Along with current rules governing campfires, stoves and smoking, as of Saturday target practice will be prohibited in the national forest except at the Winchester Gun Club in Santa Barbara County and at the Ojai Valley Gun Club in Ventura County.

"A bullet striking an object like a rock could easily spark a wildfire with the abundant grass growth this year," said National Forest Supervisor Gloria Brown.

Licensed hunters are exempt from the restrictions, but the rules will remain in effect until fire season ends. The Forest Service declares an end to fire season after 2 inches of rain have fallen.

The rules now state that open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will not be permitted outside of designated sites, even with a valid permit.

Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be permitted outside of the designated sites, but only with a valid permit. Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for 5 feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove when in use.

Smoking is not permitted except in a closed vehicle or campfire-use site. Motorized vehicles are only allowed on designated roads or trails.

For more information, go to the forest's Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres.