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Holiday Campfire Safety Helps Prevent Wildfires

CLOVIS — Will you be celebrating our nation’s independence over the 4th of July holiday weekend with a visit to the Sierra National Forest?

Activities such as camping, backpacking and picnicking in the great outdoors often include the enjoyment of a campfire to provide warmth on cool evenings or for roasting marshmallows and basking in the glow of the flames as you enjoy the company of those around you.

With those thoughts in mind, the Sierra National Forest reminds visitors to be responsible in their enjoyment and use of a campfire.

Over the Independence Day weekend here are a few tips to follow, for you to recreate and enjoy your campfire in the forest responsibly.

On the Sierra National Forest, campfire permits are required for the use of campfires, charcoal fires or portable gas stoves outside of a designated recreation area when there are no “fire restrictions” in place.

These permits are free and are available at all Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or CAL-Fire offices or for your convenience online at www.preventwildfireca.org.

When you obtain a Campfire Permit you agree to:

Come prepared — obtain your campfire permit, bring your shovel, a bucket for water, and check with Forest staff to see if there are fire restrictions in place.
Clear all flammable material away from the fire for a minimum of 10 feet in all directions to prevent escape of the fire.
Prepare your site — find a level spot away from overhanging branches, brush or dry grass. Keep away from the base of a hill, escaped campfires can travel uphill very quickly.
Beware of duff — duff is the layer of decomposing material that lies on the forest floor between the pine needles and the bare dirt. Duff burns while bare dirt does not.
Attend to your fire — never leave a fire unattended, even for a few minutes or to take a nap. It only takes a moment for a fire to escape. Be sure a responsible person is present when there is a campfire burning. Leave the permit with that person and make sure they are aware of the terms of the permit.
Drown the fire — drown your campfire half-an-hour before you break camp. Use your shovel to separate the burning pieces of wood in the fire pit.
Stir and mix — stir and mix water with ashes until the fire is completely out. Do not try to bury the fire it can smolder for hours and possibly escape.
Drown charcoal briquettes — charcoal briquettes should be extinguished by placing them in a bucket of water stirred thoroughly, then poured into the fire pit.
Check the ashes — using the back of your hand, to see if there is still heat present. Additional water and stirring may be needed, make sure the fire is out before you leave the campsite. Walk around check the area 50 feet from the fire pit to make sure embers or sparks did not escape.
It can cost you — you can/will be held liable for the cost of suppression and damages caused by any wildfire that starts through campfire negligence.

To obtain your campfire permit online follow this link www.preventwildfireca.org.

For further information regarding the Sierra National Forest and recreational activities please contact the High Sierra Ranger District office in Prather at 559-855-5355, the Bass Lake Ranger District in North Fork at 559-877-2218 or the Forest Supervisors Office in Clovis at 559-297-0706, or go online to www.fs.usda.gov/sierra

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