Fire restrictions in desert areas to be relaxed Oct. 3

October 1, 2018

NEEDLES — With cooler temperatures comes renewed interest in recreation on public lands in the California Desert and, on the part of the federal agencies responsible for most of it, the relaxation of fire restrictions that have been in effect for months.

The Bureau of Land Management backs off those restrictions effective Oct. 3 from, roughly, the north-south route of U.S. 395 on the western edge of Death Valley National Park along the Nevada border to the Tri-state and south through the Mojave National Preserve and along the Colorado River to the Mexican border. The area in the southwest corner of that massive desert area remains in Stage III restrictions; the rest steps down from Stage II to Stage I.

See the BLM’s Needles Field Office at 1303 U.S. 95 just south of town for specifics on what is allowed or required and where. Phone 760-326-7000.

General guidelines for Stage I restrictions include that campfires, barbecues and gas stoves are allowed with a valid California campfire permit. Smoking is allowed. Clear a circle five feet around a campfire and be positive any fire is dead out before leaving the area. Always have a shovel and plenty of water on hand before venturing into the desert. Be sure smoking materials are put out and disposed of properly. Park motor vehicles away from areas where hot exhaust or parts could ignite grass or other combustibles.

Fireworks are always illegal on public lands in the California Desert District. They’re also prohibited in Needles and most of San Bernardino County. No campfires or recreational shooting are permitted during National Weather Service fire weather watches or red flag warnings: visit weather.gov.

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