Forest officials ask people to be careful this weekend |

Forest officials ask people to be careful this weekend

Staff Reports

On Sunday, firefighters found an abandoned campfire near Leavitt Lake near Coleville that started a small blaze.

Small wildfires were reported on Tuesday in the Hoover Wilderness and on Saturday at Wolf Creek, according to the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch.

Any of these tiny fires, could, if circumstances were right, turn into a conflagration.

Forest officials are asking those engaged in recreational activities in the wilderness during this Labor Day weekend to be careful with fire since fire danger level is still extreme. Human-caused wildfires are still a major concern heading into the Labor Day weekend and hunting season.

“The key to fire safety is awareness,” said Forest Fire Management Officer Russ Bird. “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 can make a huge difference in protecting both property and natural resources.”

The Bridgeport and Carson Ranger Districts along the eastern Sierra Nevada and Santa Rosa Ranger District in northwest Nevada are currently in Stage I Fire Restrictions. As of today, the entire Bridgeport Ranger District will be in fire restrictions. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, located near Las Vegas, is also in Stage I Fire Restrictions and an area-wide shooting closure is in effect.

Stage I Fire Restrictions include:

■ All campfires, charcoal grills, and stove fires (wood, charcoal, and coal burning) are only allowed in designated campgrounds/areas. Portable cooking stoves utilizing liquefied or bottled fuel sources continue to be allowed on public lands.

■ Smoking is only allowed in an enclosed vehicle, building, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is void of all flammable material, including vegetation.

■ Use caution when operating or parking vehicles in close proximity to vegetation.

■ No welding equipment may be used, including acetylene or open flame torches, except by permit.

■ Fireworks, exploding targets, and incendiary or tracer ammo are always prohibited on public lands.

■ Discharging a firearm is prohibited, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state and federal regulations.

Bird noted that the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has a very good fire safety record over the Labor Day weekend and during hunting season. He also encourages forest users to always check with any Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest ranger district or the Forest’s website for up-to-date fire restrictions and follow these campfire safety tips:

■ Always abide by state and federal campfire restrictions.

■ Only adults should build and maintain campfires.

■ Never leave a campfire unattended. To extinguish it, keep a pail of water or shovel close by at all times.

■ Use existing fire-rings where it is safe to do so.

■ Clear vegetation and debris down to bare soil within 10 feet around campfire.

■ Use wood no bigger than the fire ring.

■ Keep tents and other burnable materials away from the fire.

■ Be certain your campfire is completely out before you go to bed or leave the area. Pour water on the fire and douse the site thoroughly. Stir the campfire until there are no embers and the ashes are cold to the touch. Remember, if it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.

Bird would also like to remind people that fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited on all public lands year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. The use or possession of fireworks on federal land is subject to confiscation and fines of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail. In addition, anyone found responsible for starting a wildfire can be held civilly and criminally liable.

Under current fire conditions, forest users should be aware that recreational shooting could cause a fire. “Don’t shoot on hot, dry days. Always shoot into a non-flammable 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 fires starts,” said Bird. “It’s critical that we all do our part to prevent the next human-caused fire.”