Police / Fire

BLM Central Coast Field Office issues seasonal fire restrictions

Agency expects an increase in wildfire severity based on forecasted climate.

Information provided by the Bureau of Land Management.

In a May 11 release, the Bureau of Land Management provided more info on seasonal fire restrictions effective May 15 for public lands managed by the Central Coast Field Office, including lands in San Benito County, due to dry conditions and wildland fire danger. These seasonal restrictions are in addition to the year-round statewide fire prevention order, issued on April 28, and will remain in effect until further notice.

About 95% of all wildfires in California are human made. Records show recreational target shooting has sparked more than half the wildland fires within the Central Coast Field Office boundary in the last decade, the release said. Many of these wildfires occur close in proximity to roadways, communities and recreational areas, posing considerable threat to public safety. 

An increase in wildfire severity is expected based on forecasted climate, as well as an expansion of wildfire season over much of the western United States. The following restrictions will remain in place until the fire danger subsides:

  • No campfires, barbecues or open fires, except in a developed campground. Portable stoves with gas, jelled petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed with a valid California campfire permit available free at all BLM, U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire offices, or at www.preventwildfireca.org/Permits.
  • No target shooting—hot bullet fragments, exploding targets and metal from recreational shooting can spark a wildfire. Use of firearms for hunting is still allowed. Hunters must abide by state of California laws and regulations. Visit www.wheretoshoot.org for alternative recreational target shooting locations.
  • No motorized vehicles off BLM designated roads or trails.
  • No tools powered by internal combustion engines off BLM designated roads or trails (such as chainsaws or lawn mowers).
  • No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or at a developed recreation site, or other designated areas.
  • No welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

Anyone convicted of violating a fire prevention order could be fined up to $100,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 12 months, the release said. Restitution for total fire suppression and damage costs incurred could be borne by the trespasser.

To learn how you can do your part to prevent wildland fires visit www.readyforwildfire.org. A listing of fire restrictions throughout BLM California is available at https://go.usa.gov/xmUEG. For specific questions, please contact the Central Coast Field Office at (831) 582-2200.

BenitoLink Staff