[KHTS] – Forest experts are cautioning Santa Clarita Valley residents who might be thinking about traveling through the Angeles National Forest.
Fire Management officials have brought down strike teams of engines and extra fire prevention patrols from northern California and pre-positioned them throughout Southern California.
Fire suppression resources in the Angeles National Forest will work 24-hour staffing and send extra units to every fire that is reported until winds diminish and the Red Flag Warning expires.
“The forest Fire Danger Level has been at Very High since last year, and conditions are not expected to change any time soon” said Jim Hall, forest Fire Chief.
Angeles National Forest “Our fire staff will be ready to respond to any emergency that occurs within and adjacent to the forest, and we are prepared to support all other local fire agencies as needed with air and ground resources.”
Along with these resources, there will be a night flying helicopter to see around at night times, said Fire Prevention Specialist, Nathan Judy.
The fire danger level is “Very High.”
Open wood and charcoal fires are permitted only in developed campgrounds and picnic areas where a steel fire ring and grills are provided.
Visitors are also reminded to ensure that all fires are kept small and extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving them.
“The closest strike team is stationed in Big Tujunga Canyon, with engines on duty,” said Judy, in regards to any pre-stationed firefighters near Santa Clarita.
Petroleum jelly and propane stoves are permitted in non-developed area with a valid California Campfire Permit.
Visitors should exercise caution when visiting the Angeles and maintain a higher level of awareness with the increased fire risk.
They should also check spark arrestors (required year-round) on off-road vehicles, chainsaws and other equipment with internal-combustion engines to ensure they are in working order.
Drivers in the forest should stay on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass, to avoid risk of starting a fire.
Judy said, “if it gets really dry in certain situations, we may prohibit the use of charcoal fires and barbeque grills.
About the U.S. Forest Service:
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private
landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone.
Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year.
The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.
– Angelina Bryan