By Jake Lee Green
Kern Valley Sun
The Bakersfield Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is lifting its fire restrictions for roughly 640,000 acres of BLM-managed public lands throughout Kern, Fresno, Madera, San Luis Obispo, and Tulare counties on December 4, 2019, due to a reduction in wildland fires. Recreational areas that are managed by the BLM included in that fire restriction lift are Chimney Peak, Kennedy Meadows, Keyesville, Lake Isabella, San Joaquin River Gorge, and Three Rivers. Fire restrictions for approximately 10,000 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties will remain in restriction until December 31.
Recreation on public lands goes hand in hand with safety precautions that the BLM would like patrons to be reminded of. The public is encouraged not to drive vehicles through dry, brush laden, grass and always carry a fire extinguisher. Shovels and buckets are also handy tools to carry while using public lands while maintaining a campfire. Free campfire permits and permits for portable gas stoves are available for California through BLM, CAL FIRE, and the United States Forest Service offices. Permits can also be found at Sierra Gateway South Lake, the Kernville Sierra Gateway, and online at www.preventwildfireca.org/permits.
For recreational users of firearms and rifles; practices of safety precautions for shooting in an open area surrounding forest fuels are encouraged. Fragments of bullets and shells ejected by firearms and rifles can spark wildfires. Tracer rounds and explosive ammunition are prohibited by the BLM on their managed public lands. All empty cartridges, shells, brass, and targets are required to be hauled away after use by federal law. Any persons found to be responsible for the cause of a wildfire, either intentionally, or accidentally, may be held responsible for full costs of repair and fire suppression efforts.
Homeowners in highly prolific areas of dry seasons that are prone to wildfire are encouraged to keep 100 feet of space as a defense in the case of a wildfire. For more information on tips regarding fire safety precautions in wildland areas, please visit www.readyforwildfire.org. All other local inquiries can be answered through the Bakersfield BLM Field Office at 661-391-6000.