Tahoe National Forest campfire ban lifted | SierraSun.com

Tahoe National Forest campfire ban lifted

Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun file photoJessie Heying, Lorie Zuercher, Christina Gentry and Daniel McBride sit by a campfire at a Tahoe City campground earlier this year. Campfires are again allowed in Tahoe National Forest, along with internal combustion machines.

After recent precipitation and dropping temperatures, fire restrictions in Tahoe National Forest will be lifted tonight at midnight.

Coming slightly earlier than in an average year, the relaxed rules allow people to have campfires in the backcountry and operate internal combustion engines in the forest.

Despite lifting the seasonal bans, officials urge common sense in fire safety in a particularly difficult fire season that CalFire officials say is far from over.

“The storm that just came in was a good wetting rain, but not as good as we had hoped, with between two-tenths and three-quarters of an inch across the national forest,” said Ann Westling, spokesperson for Tahoe National Forest.

After Forest Service personnel found 65 unattended campfires this year, however, Westling said it is extremely important that people properly put out campfires.

“They were all over from forest service campgrounds to out in the woods,” Westling said. “And they started fires, most recently the Lindsey Fire.”

Located north of Truckee in the Grouse Lakes area, the Lindsey Fire burned 21 acres before firefighters could contain it.

“We are still in fire season; it’s just not as severe, so we’ve lifted the restrictions,” Westling said.

CalFire spokesperson Gina Chamberlin said no official end is in sight for the state’s fire season, with substantially more rain needed before state fire officials can breathe easier.

“The recent rain gives everybody false hope, but we are not even close,” Chamberlin said. “There is no known amount of rain that we will need; everything is so dry still there is no way of knowing.”

With weather once again warming, fuels are drying out again, she said.

When the fire season eventually does end, bans on burn piles will be lifted, she said.

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