Citing increased fire activity and weather forecasts for heightened fire risk, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has announced a statewide burn ban.
The ban suspends all residential burn permits, forest management, hazard abatement and other industrial-type burning within the 31 million acres of state responsibility area.
"Over 8,000 Cal Fire, local and federal firefighters are on the frontlines of nearly a dozen major wildfires that are burning across California," Cal Fire director Chief Ken Pimlott said in a written statement. "With conditions being so dry, we need to take every step possible to prevent new wildfires from starting."
Campfires within organized campgrounds or on private property are allowed if they are in a designated campfire site that prevents fire from spreading outside the site, according to a Cal Fire news release.
Officials said the burning suspension will remain in effect until there is a significant change in weather conditions, or until the end of the fire season.
California has experienced an increase in fires statewide this year, after two years of relatively light wildland fire activity that officials credited in part to favorable weather patterns. Historically, the largest and most damaging wildfires occur during the fall, and Cal Fire officials urge residents to make sure they have an emergency plan in case a fire threatens their home or family.
Cal Fire offers several tips to prevent wildfires:
Do clearing for defensible space before 10 a.m., and never on a hot and windy day.
Don't toss cigarettes out of a car window.
Don't pull a vehicle off the road into dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires that can't be easily seen by the driver.
Check with local officials for additional fire restrictions.
In wildland areas, spark arresters area required on all portable gasoline-powered equipment, including tractors, chainsaws, weed cutters, mowers, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
Report any suspicious activity by calling Cal Fire's arson hotline at (800) 468-4408.
For more fire safety tips, go to www.ReadyForWildfire.org, or www.fire.ca.gov.
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