As of Monday, May 16, the Bureau of Land Management will issue fire restrictions on public lands in the California desert, including requiring permits for campfires and barbecues.
Above normal rainfall this winter and spring has produced prolific growth of desert vegetation, including highly flammable invasive grasses.
“Historically, these conditions have fueled very large wildfires,” said Teri Raml, BLM Desert District Manager. “These fire restrictions are needed to reduce the wildfire threat to private property and the fragile desert ecosystem.”
Effective May 16, all campfires and barbecues are prohibited on BLM-managed lands within Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties close to urban areas. This includes developed campgrounds and other camp sites. Portable stoves with gas, jellied petroleum or pressured liquid fuel are authorized with a valid California campfire permit. , but the public is asked to be extremely careful with their use and carry a shovel and water at all times.
On all other BLM land in the California Desert District, campfires and barbecues are allowed, but only with permits. This includes all BLM-managed lands east of Highways 395 and 14, north of Highways 138 and 18, as well as east of Highways 247, 62, 111, and 86. In San Diego County, the restrictions are in effect south of Highway 78 and east of County Road S-2 and Interstate 8 to the Mexican border.
Permits are available through the CDD office, all BLM field offices, fire/ranger stations, and from all BLM patrol personnel. Anyone convicted of violating a fire prevention order can be fined up to $1,000, receive up to 12 months in jail, or both, and may be liable for the cost of damages and suppression of a wildfire that may have resulted from the unauthorized campfire or barbeque.
For more information, or to obtain a permit, contact the BLM’s CDD office at (951) 697-5220, or local field offices in Barstow, (760) 252-6000, El Centro, (760) 337-4400, Needles, (760) 326-7000, Palm Springs-South Coast, (760) 833-7100, or Ridgecrest, (760) 384-5400.
Raml also reminds homeowners to “Take Responsibility” and keep 100 feet of clean, open space around their homes to provide defensible space and improve the chance that their homes and families can be protected in an uncontrolled wildfire. For more information, go to the Take Responsibility website at http://takeresponsibility.cafirealliance.com.