Summer outdoor enthusiasts need to be careful while visiting the region's national forests, officials say.
According to Kit Bailey, the Eldorado National Forest's acting fire chief, unsafe campfires are the leading cause of human-caused wildfires in Eldorado and other national forests statewide.
"Many people enjoy camping outside of designated campgrounds and having a campfire, charcoal fire and using a portable gas stove. A campfire permit is required before any of these can be used, however," Bailey said in a written statement.
Campfire permits are available for free at any U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management or California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection office.
The permits are good until Dec. 31 of each year and allow the holder to build a safe campfire where and when they are permitted, according to a Forest Service news release. They also allow the holder to have a charcoal fire and a portable gas stove.
Campfires are not allowed in the Desolation Wilderness Area.
In the Tahoe National Forest, campfires and charcoal barbecues will be permitted only within developed campgrounds. Smoking will be allowed only in an enclosed vehicle or developed recreation site.
Portable stoves and propane barbecues may be used in backcountry areas with a valid campfire permit.
More information on the restrictions is available at www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe.