Despite recent rains, fire officials urge caution.
Updated Tuesday, Aug. 12, 4:51 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a “red flag warning” for the mountains of Los Angeles County and the Antelope Valley, including the eastern Angeles National Forest, due to an extended period of low relative humidity. Warming and drying conditions across the region will lead to an extended period of widespread single digit humidity with poor overnight recoveries. This warning will be in effect until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13.
The Fire Danger Level on the Angeles National Forest is being raised from “High” to “Very High,” effective Wednesday, August 13. The change comes as summer temperatures continue to dry out vegetation and recreational activities continue to bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Forest.
“Rain in the San Gabriel Mountains the third week of May actually caused our vegetation moisture levels to increase for a short time,” explained Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea. “But we are now approaching fall and it's very important for the multitudes of people who visit the forest to have an awareness of their location, in case they need to report a new wildfire or be evacuated.
“This goes for weekend recreational users as well as those who commute through the forest from, for instance, the Antelope Valley, to Los Angeles. We have had several new starts over the last two weeks, none of which burned more than a few acres,” he said.
Despite the change, there are no new campfire restrictions: Open wood and charcoal fires will still be permitted in developed campgrounds and picnic areas only. Gas and propane powered stoves and grills are permitted in non-developed areas with a valid California Campfire Permit.
Spark arrestors (required year-round) should be checked to make sure they are in good working order on all off-road vehicles, chain saws and other equipment with internal combustion engines. Travelers through the Forest should remain on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass.
The “Very High” Fire Danger Level is the fourth in a six-level, graduated fire danger rating system. A variety of factors determine the level, including the moisture in vegetation, weather conditions and firefighting equipment needs due to regional and national fire activity.
“Know Before You Go” to the Angeles National Forest. Find out about local conditions at your destination prior to leaving by contacting the following offices:
Forest Supervisor’s Office – Arcadia, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (626) 574-1613
Los Angeles River Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (818) 899-1900
San Gabriel River Ranger District, (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) (626) 335-1251
Santa Clara-Mojave Rivers Ranger District, (M-F 8 am to 4:30 pm) (661) 296-9710