It Has Thanksgiving — Firing restrictions remain in Place

It Has Thanksgiving -- Firing restrictions remain in Place

It Has Thanksgiving — Firing restrictions remain in Place Normally at this time of year, the mountains are cold and either bracing for snow or already shoveling. But this is 2020.

San Bernardino National Forest officials announced that fire restrictions remain in effect for Thanksgiving week, and beyond. The early winter storm in November did little to help with the tinder dry vegetation in much of the forest. Some lower elevation areas are even drier than in summer, when numerous large fires broke out.

Moderate Santa Ana winds are predicted for later this week on Thanksgiving Day and Friday. The winds usually bring cold, dry weather to the mountains, which is ideal for the resorts to make snow, but a combination firefighters don’t want to see. A fire that ignites during Santa Ana winds, combined with the current dry vegetation and weather conditions, can “grow rapidly and will be difficult to control,” according to the Santa Ana Wind Threat Index, a Predictive Services product from the U.S. Forest Service. Forest Service firefighters may extend staffing for 24 hour periods during that time.

“The shorter days and colder temperatures can make it feel like we are out of peak fire season, but that is not the case,” said Deputy Fire Chief Scott Howes. “Visitors need to be as cautious as ever with anything that could spark a fire.”

An unprecedented number of people visited the mountains this year in the COVID-19 pandemic era, and the trend is expected to continue during the winter and holiday season. Even if there is no snow in the mountains, visitors flock to the mountains for other activities.

Current fire restrictions and fire-related safety prohibitions include:

• No campfires
• No smoking
• No target shooting
• No dispersed or yellow post camping (only a few developed campgrounds are open)
• No entering the burn areas for the Apple, El Dorado and Snow fires
• A full list of restrictions and related prohibitions can be found on the Forest’s website.

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