Arrest Warrants Issued for Fire-Law Scofflaws

Angry at 25 people who failed to appear in court for fire-related citations handed out in the Angeles National Forest, a federal magistrate in Los Angeles has issued arrest warrants for offenses that would normally only carry fines of up to $75.

Although such nonappearances are not unusual, U.S. Magistrate Volney V. Brown Jr. said Wednesday that he ordered the arrests because the violations threatened wildlife and foliage in the San Gabriel Mountains.

A Stage 2 fire alert, denoting high temperatures and dry brush that could easily fuel a devastating blaze, exists in the Angeles National Forest and rangers have ordered restrictions on campfires and off-road vehicles to reduce the potential danger, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman said.

The warrants, issued Tuesday, were for violations cited by rangers last month. They included maintaining open campfires in a restricted area, operating vehicles without spark arresters and illegally possessing fireworks, Brown said.

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