San Bernardino National Forest officials are reminding the public that fire restrictions remain in effect for the Thanksgiving week and beyond.
Despite one winter storm in early November, vegetation in much of the Forest continues to be very dry.
Some lower elevation areas are even drier than in the summer, when numerous large fires broke out.
Moderate Santa Ana winds are additionally predicted for later this week on Thanksgiving Day and Friday.
A fire that ignites during such winds, combined with current vegetation and weather conditions, can "grow rapidly and will be difficult to control," according to the Santa Ana Wind Threat Index, a Predictive Services product from the U.S. Forest Service. Forest Service firefighters may extend staffing for 24-hour periods during that time.
In a news release officials said, “We will implementing a 24-hour staffing pattern beginning Thanksgiving Day and ending Sunday.
This is for engines, patrols, water tenders and hotshot crews, and is subject to change based on weather conditions.
Any fire personnel not on a 24-hour shift will have their days extended, including those at the San Bernardino Air Tanker Base and on our two helicopter bases (based in the Lake Arrowhead and Idyllwild areas).”
"The shorter days and colder temperatures can make it feel like we are out of peak fire season, but that is not the case," said Deputy Fire Chief Scott Howes. "Visitors need to be as cautious as ever with anything that could spark a fire."
Current fire restrictions and fire-related safety prohibitions include:
• No campfires
• No smoking
• No target shooting
• No dispersed or yellow post camping (only a few developed campgrounds are open)
• No entering the burn areas for the Apple, El Dorado and Snow fires
A full list of restrictions and related prohibitions can be found on https://www.fs.usda.gov.