PORTERVILLE, Calif, May 8, 2020 – The Sequoia National Forest will enact fire restrictions prohibiting campfires, stove fires, welding, or smoking on all public lands managed by the Forest below 5,000 ft. The restrictions starting Saturday, May 9, are due to a heavy grass fuel load, drying conditions, and established high wildland fire danger.
The Forest is continuing to experience tree mortality, affecting approximately 600,000 acres of forest land. “These conditions coupled with late winter precipitation have resulted in a heavy grass fuel load,” said Forest Supervisor, Teresa Benson. “The restrictions are deemed necessary to protect public safety and prevent human-caused wildfires.”
Effective May 9, and until further notice, the following restrictions are in effect below 5,000 ft:
- No Campfires or Stove Fires. As a reminder, all developed campgrounds are closed under the Regional Order.
- Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns with shut-off valves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel, or propane.
- No Smoking is permitted, except within an enclosed vehicle.
- Operating an internal combustion engine off of properly designated roads or trails and welding are all strictly prohibited during the fire restriction period.
- Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer rounds, and other incendiary ammunition or devices are not allowed in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument at any time. This includes sparklers or safe and sane fireworks.
Human-caused fires can be prevented. One less spark can mean one less wildfire. Do your part to prevent wildfires. To learn more, visit www.preventwildfireca.org/one-less-spark-one-less-wildfire.
Know Before You Go! For additional information regarding fire restrictions, please contact your local Ranger Station Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or email SM.FS.SequoiaNF@usda.gov for current information.
- Kern River Ranger District 760-549-9533
- Western Divide Ranger District 559-920-0460
- Hume Lake Ranger District 559-791-5758
- Supervisor’s Office 559-920-1588
Forest Service extends closure of most developed recreation sites in California through May 15
PORTERVILLE, Calif., – The USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region, announced that most developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15. Regional Order No. 20-03 is available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd731223.pdf
The order does not close trails, trailheads, and general forest areas; these areas remain accessible for public use. Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.
Outdoor recreation can be beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. In light of the statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, we continue to ask visitors to recreate locally.
If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:
- No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
- All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
- Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
- If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location
If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen closed sites.
Please call your local Ranger Station Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm or email SM.FS.SequoiaNF@usda.gov for current SQNF information.
Kern River Ranger District 760-549-9533
Western Divide Ranger District 559-920-0460
Hume Lake Ranger District 559-791-5758
Supervisor’s Office 559-920-1588
We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.
The COVID-19 issue has sure disrupted a lot of things locally. One of those areas are the snow surveys. The State of California uses their own employees as well as federal and private to complete the surveys up and down the Sierra Nevada. Early reports show the snow pack for the Kings River is around 46% of normal for this time of year. However, like many parts of the Sierra Nevada, the snow surveys not fully complete. The 3rd of each month is the last day for the survey. This then means the results could be posted that same day, but by the 4th at the latest.
If some of the early snow surveys are any indication, we will be around 46% of normal for the month of April. March’s storms were a nice boost as many areas were projecting almost 10% less if March remained a “dry” month. If additional reports to trickle in, there will be another update to follow. Stay tuned!
The snow results are in for the March 1 survey. We are sitting at 41% of normal for the Kings River Basin. Last year around this time we were approximately 168% of normal. Maybe a “Miracle March” will happen? Time will tell.
Snow survey results are nearing completion for the Kings River Basin. Tomorrow is the last reporting day and likely not to vary too much from what is currently being reported now. The snow pack is currently setting at 72% of normal for this time of year. We shall see what the two wettest months (February and March) bring to the Sierra Nevada.
Post from the Sequoia National Forest to all visitors.
Poodle-dog bush can cause severe irritation to the skin if touched, akin to poison oak or poison ivy. It can raise blisters lasting as long as two weeks or more. The plant is covered in sticky hairs, which can dislodge easily and can be passed on to hikers who touch it or brush up against it. The swelling, rash and itching appear twelve hours to two days after contact. Use caution and avoid this plant.
It is found in nearly all habitat types that have recently burned including conifer forests, chaparral, oak woodland and riparian areas. Poodle-dog bush is frequently found along trails.
Wear long sleeves and pants if you plan to visit the Sequoia National Forest within previously fire burned areas. This plant was recently found in the Converse Basin area on the Hume Lake Ranger District. Historically, it has been discovered in areas burned by wildfire which is happening more across the Forest and in Giant Sequoia National Monument. Notes are as follows:
– This native California shrub grows at elevations from 300 to 7,500 feet. It can grow almost 10 feet tall, and has purple bell-shaped flowers.
– It is a perennial, woody shrub with long shiny leaves. It emits an unpleasant, slightly pungent odor.
June 1 is National Trails Day. A perfect time to get outside and make a difference on a trail. If you are interested, make sure to check out the link below to find an spot near you. If there isn’t one nearby, but you want to start an event there is information on how to do so. Go and help a trail!
Many will head outdoors this weekend in some fashion or another. If you haven’t been to a National Forest in awhile, I encourage you to plan a day trip and go see it. The video above really captures some great scenery and drives a good point home. You OWN the National Forests. It is YOUR taxes that have secured these lands for multiple use benefit. Get out and see them. Get involved in some way to make them better for the next generation and the next.
Mark your calendar for June 2 as it is National Trail Day! There are various way you can participate this year from simply just going on a hike to maintaining trails to special trail events and more. You can also donate financially to the cause and get some swag in return. To learn more, you can check out American Hiking Society website.
The last snow survey results are in for 2018! May is the final survey for the area near the Monarch Wilderness. Unfortunately the results are bad. The Kings River Basin is at 36% of normal for this time of year. If you are wanting to find sheets of snow, you’ll need to get high in elevation.
Anything less than 8,000 feet to be exact had no snow on the course. This does not mean people passing by won’t see a patch or two of snow at lower elevations. It is just not enough snow to record on the actual snow courses. If you did not know, these snow survey courses have been surveyed in the same spots for decades.
Going into the summer backpacking season, make sure to note your water sources. If you head out into the wilderness, please consider sharing a trip report or sending in info on where creeks were flowing. This will help others going out to plan accordingly. It is greatly appreciated.