Tuesday, July 3, 2012
High temperatures, dry conditions and the likelihood small fires could become larger prompted officials at Cleveland National Forest to announce elevated fire restrictions Monday.
The restrictions are set to take effect at 6 a.m. Tuesday and involve activities that have historically caused fires in the forest. The fire restriction system works in conjunction with the daily Fire Danger Rating System, commonly called the "Smokey Bear fire danger level,'' officials said.
"When you see a Smokey Bear sign that states the 'Fire Danger Today is Very High,' you need to know the likelihood of a wildfire starting, and then quickly developing into a large fire is a strong possibility,'' said Carlton Joseph, the forest's fire chief.
"The public needs to be extremely careful when recreating within the forest during periods of high, very high and extreme fire danger.''
The elevated fire restriction state fireworks are never allowed, wood or charcoal fires are not allowed except in designated areas, and smoking is prohibited except inside vehicles or buildings or within a developed recreation site.
The restrictions also require spark arrestors on off-highway vehicles, chainsaws and other internal combustion equipment and restrict welding, grinding, cutting and using explosives along with other activities that require a special use authorization.
The full list of the elevated fire restrictions is available at fs.usda.gov/cleveland.