Officials Friday raised the Fire Danger Level from "very high" to "extreme" in the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, accompanied by stricter restrictions on public use of those areas.
The "extreme" fire danger level is exceeded only by the "critical" fire danger level, said Angeles Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia.
"One reason for this change is to enhance public awareness of the threat wildfires pose to the health and safety of the forest and those who enjoy it," Garcia said. "Another is the current and long-range weather predictions indicating above-normal temperatures, below-average relative humidity and precipitation, coupled with periods of strong, gusty Santa Ana winds."
Garcia said the new fire danger level would be accompanied by stricter restrictions for the public.
"By restricting the use of fire throughout the forest, and increasing staffing levels, the objective is to reduce the potential of a catastrophic wildfire," Garcia said.
The new restrictions include:
-- building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire, throughout the national forest and national monument;
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-- smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials;
-- welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame; and
-- discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun, except in the authorized public shooting ranges. A person with a valid permit for the Forest Service or hunting with a valid California hunting license may discharge a firearm according to their permit or license.
All previous restrictions remain in effect. For a list of all fire restrictions, go to www.fs.usda.gov/angeles.