Fire Danger Closes 2 ‘Backcountry’ Areas

Two remote areas in Los Padres National Forest will close Friday--about six weeks earlier than usual--because of severe fire danger, officials said.

About 175,000 acres of “backcountry” forest land will be closed to the public until the first significant rainfall this autumn, said Earl Clayton, a spokesman for the forest.

There are no paved roads or campsites in either of the two regions, which are in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, Clayton said. The areas are accessible only on foot and by off-road vehicles.

“Vehicle exhausts can cause fires very easily,” Clayton said.


This year, there have been 17 fires in the forest, including a 625-acre blaze in one of the areas to be closed. Clayton said there have actually been more fires, but the forest service does not count fires that burn less than two acres because they are so common.

Also beginning Friday, campfires and petroleum camp stoves will be prohibited outside of maintained campgrounds, and smoking will be prohibited except in campgrounds and enclosed vehicles.

Violators of the rules are subject to fines that range from $50 to $500, Clayton said.