With fall rapidly approaching and the summer recreation season drawing to a close, the Plumas National Forest and concessionaire Outdoors in Plumas is beginning the slow process of winterizing and closing sites.
Area residents and visitors planning to recreate on the Forest are encouraged to check that the recreation sites are still open. Current site status is available at www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/plumas/recreation or by calling Plumas National Forest offices.
Mill Creek Campground on the Mount Hough Ranger District is still open, however it is scheduled to be closed for the season later this month to replace toilets at the facility.
This week Little Beaver, Red Feather and Running Deer campgrounds on the Feather River Ranger District, and Gansner Bar, Greenville and Hallsted campgrounds on the Mount Hough Ranger District closed for the season.
There are more than 150 recreation sites on the Plumas National Forest. Efforts are being made to keep some sites open at each of the reservoirs and larger recreation areas. While some sites may remain open later into the season, services may be reduced.
Water availability is reduced due to ongoing drought conditions. Campers and other recreational users are asked to help conserve water, ensuring spigots are completely turned off and to reduce use. It is advised to bring sufficient water for drinking and cleaning for the trip rather than rely on water availability in the forest.
Most of the Plumas National Forest continues to be under an is under an Excessive Heat Warning issued by the National Weather Service until 8 p.m. tonight. Mountain temperatures continue to be in the upper 90s and up to 100 degrees with evening temperatures remaining warm. The forecast has temperatures gradually reducing early next week.
People and pets should drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities when temperatures are hotter later in the day. Try to find shaded areas and watch for signs of heat stress.
Fire danger continues to be extreme in the area and the Forest is still under Stage II Fire Restrictions. Campfires are only allowed in designated recreation sites with a campground host present and inside provided fire rings.
“We are still in fire season and the recent heat wave has further dried forest fuels,” said Plumas National Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer Mitch Wilson. “Everyone’s continued care and continued vigilance preventing wildfire is critical in the coming weeks until fall rain and winter snow starts.”
To help prevent wildfires, it’s advised to do the following:
- Before going camping, check fire restrictions in place and never leave a campfire unattended. Build campfires in designated fire rings, clear of debris and keep water and a shovel nearby. Make sure campfires are out and cool to the touch before leaving the area.
- Consider alternatives to a campfire, such as a portable camp stove.
- Smoking should only be in a closed vehicle or fire-safe area and always dispose of cigarette debris in some type of an ashtray. Check local Fire Restrictions for specific rules.
- Do not drive or park in tall grass or on roads with heavy, fine fuel accumulations. Exhaust particles, hot exhaust pipes and hot catalytic converters can start grass fires in a matter of seconds. Also, maintain proper tire pressure – driving on exposed wheel rims can throw sparks.
- Secure chains properly from trailers or other equipment. Sparks from dragging chains, and exhaust from ATVs and motorcycles, can start grass fires. Spark arresters are required on all recreational and portable gasoline-powered equipment.
- Carry firefighting equipment in vehicles, including a shovel, at least one gallon of water or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher. Report suspected wildfires by calling 911.
Plumas National Forest Fire and Aviation Management resources are continuing 24-hour staffing during periods where there is increased risk of wildfire. They are also monitoring for lighting fires from recent storms on the east side of the forest.
As wildfire season continues, anyone recreating in the forest should maintain awareness of available evacuation routes in case of wildfire and watch for smoke and emergency traffic.