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Variable conditions await visitors to the Plumas National Forest

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of the summer recreation season.  For those looking for an adventure on the Plumas National Forest this weekend, they are encouraged to be prepared for varied and changing conditions and take measures to have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Current conditions are widely varied.  Overall, the Forest is drier than average for this time of year.  While late spring storms brought significant rain and snowfall, snowpack is rapidly melting and fuel conditions are very dry.

Despite wet and muddy conditions in some areas of the Forest, the public is asked to use caution with anything that can spark a wildfire.  There are currently no fire restrictions in place.  But campfires should never be left unattended and should be dead-out and cold to the touch before leaving.

Trailer chains should be secured and not dragging, and spark arresters should be functioning properly on motorized equipment, including off-highway vehicles, generators and chainsaws.

“It’s early in the season, but we are already seeing fuel conditions that can carry wildfire and rapid changes in weather and temperature can cause increased strong and erratic winds,” said Plumas National Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer Mitch Wilson.  “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and vigilance in being careful and preventing human-caused wildfires.”

In contrast to the hot temperatures earlier this week, the weekend forecast is significantly cooler in the mountains and includes a chance of rain.  Even at lower elevations, temperatures are expected to drop significantly over the weekend due to a cold front in the forecast.

Several recreation sites and roads still have some snow or have muddy and wet conditions affecting access.  Drivers need to be aware that they may encounter snow drifts, icy or muddy conditions, especially those on the northern sides of mountains and in shaded areas.

These areas increase the risk of getting stuck, as well as potentially damaging roads.  If tread tracks are visible in the rearview mirror or if there are increased drifts in the road, drivers are asked to park and walk or turn around and find another area to visit.

Hikers should be aware of these same conditions on area trails and are encouraged to avoid hiking on muddy trails.

Many recreation sites are open for the season.  Sites in Lakes Basin Recreation Area are scheduled to open this weekend.  There is still some snow in the area, with wet and muddy conditions.  Some campsites are closed due to identified hazard trees that need to be removed, but all campgrounds are open in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area.

Additional Campgrounds opening at Little Grass Valley Recreation Area include Black Rock Campground and Horse Camp, as well as portions of Little Beaver Campground.  Visitors should bring drinking water for Little Beaver Campground as the water is not yet potable while it is being tested.  Recreation staff are still working to open additional sites in the Little Grass Valley Recreation Area.  More information will be provided as opening dates are identified.

Lake levels are low at some reservoirs and some boat launches may not have courtesy docks available for boaters. Boat docks are in the water at Frenchman Boat Launch, Lost Cove Boat Launch at Antelope Lake and Sandy Point Boat Launch at Bucks Lake. Repairs are in progress for boat docks at Gold Lake Boat Launch and Honker Cove Boat Launch at Lake Davis.

“As we enter Memorial Day weekend, we recognize many visitors choose to make time in the forest a part of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation,” said Plumas Forest Supervisor Chris Carlton.  “Our team is working hard to get things open and prepare our recreation sites for the season. We appreciate your patience as we do this work and your efforts to be prepared for a range of conditions while enjoying your forest.”

Early season weather can be widely varied, ranging from warm and sunny during the day to cold at night.  Late spring storms can come on suddenly.  Being prepared with layered clothing, plenty of food and water, good footwear and the right gear is highly recommended.

It’s always good for any forest adventure to make sure in addition to the right supplies that you let someone know where you are going, when you plan to be back and start with a full tank of gas.

For more information on the Plumas National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/plumas, follow the forest on Twitter @USFSPlumas or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas.

 

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