Forest officials urge caution over Labor Day weekend

The fire danger sign at the Jacks Valley Fire Station isn't exaggerating when it says extreme.

The fire danger sign at the Jacks Valley Fire Station isn't exaggerating when it says extreme.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

With the two small fires burning at Yosemite National Park sufficient to send smoke 100 miles north to Carson Valley, the last thing anyone needs is a major fire on either side of the Sierra.

With extreme high temperatures forecast for the weekend, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest officials are urging visitors to be careful with fire over the Labor Day weekend.

Human-caused wildfires are still a major concern heading into the Labor Day weekend and hunting season.

“The keys to fire safety are prevention and awareness,” said Acting Fire Information Officer Rich Martinez. “The public needs to use common sense and be aware of the potential for wildfires no matter what the conditions. A responsible person’s actions before and after a fire starts can make a huge difference in protecting life, property, and natural resources.”

Stage I fire restrictions are in place on the Carson and Bridgeport ranger districts which prohibit building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire outside of developed recreation sites.

Campfires are not allowed in any area outside of developed recreation sites. Portable stoves, fire pits, or grills that use wood or charcoal are also prohibited in both dispersed and developed areas under Stage 1 restrictions. Portable stoves or fires that use gas, liquid fuel, etc., are allowed on all forest lands, provided they have a contained fuel source and an on-off switch. Additionally, California campfire permits are required for campfires in developed sites and for the use of any portable stove, regardless of fire restriction level, in the state of California.

Smoking outside of a vehicle or building is prohibited unless the smoker is stopped in an area at least 3- feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable materials.

Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame. Explosives, including fireworks and exploding targets, are never permitted on public lands.

National Forest visitors are asked to pay extra attention to anything that could cause a spark, such as dragging chains on a trailer or power tools. Hot exhaust systems can ignite dry grass and brush.

Campfires should be kept small and completely extinguished before leaving camp. The best method is to douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again, making sure that all ashes are cold to the touch. It is illegal to have unattended campfires.

Be aware that recreational shooting could cause a fire, so do not shoot on hot, dry days. Always shoot into a nonflammable backstop. Be sure it is clear of flammable debris on all sides, and always have water, a fire extinguisher, and shovel ready in case a fire starts.

“The public is the first line of defense in preventing wildfires,” Martin said. “Fire staff on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest thank you for recreating responsibly and using extra precaution to prevent wildfires.”

To learn more about fire restrictions, check out these frequently asked questions at For up-to-date information on fire restrictions across the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and Nevada Division of Forestry, please visit: In California, please check with the appropriate land management agency for current fire restrictions.

Also, a good reminder that many campgrounds and day use sites on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest require reservations so it is best to visit to see if there are spots still available. Dispersed camping, which means camping outside of a designated campground, is allowed, but requires a little more effort than pulling up to an established campground. Anyone who plans to dispersed camp needs to arrive fully self-sufficient and prepared to clean up after themself thoroughly. Also, campfires are not allowed. Additionally, it is important for visitors to follow all USDA Forest Service rules and regulations when recreating on National Forest System lands.

While visiting National Forest System lands, it is important to practice Leave No Trace principals, ( which include planning ahead and being prepared, sticking to trails, disposing of both trash and human waste properly, minimizing fire impacts, leaving what is found, keeping a safe distance from wildlife, and being considerate and kind to other people.

For additional information on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, please visit or participate in the conversation at and


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