Safe Campers: Current Wildfire/Drought Conditions
There were almost 70,000 wildfires in the United States. 9.33 million acres went up in flames. With the severity of the current drought, abnormally dry conditions are taking over every state west of the Mississippi River.
Just in the last year, 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States were caused by humans. This includes, but is not limited to, campers. They lack maintenance skills, leave fires unattended, or burn debris. Parks departments have no choice but to propose restrictions for when and where campers can ignite a flame.
According to Wildfire Today, President Obama is proposing a 4.8 percent increase in the wildland fire budget for the U.S. Forest Service, and a 7.1 percent increase in the fire budgets of the four agencies in the Department of the Interior with wildland fire programs. This is set to take place in 2015 if it passes.
The United States Forest Service is continually updating fire safety regimens for outdoor enthusiasts. This includes maintaining and extinguishing campfires. With the current drought some campgrounds have no choice but to ban campfires all together.
On May 2, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced a ban on open burning. According to CAL FIRE, campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds or in established facilities on p
rivate property. On May 1, restrictions on were installed in the Upper Kern River area of Sequoia National Forest in California. All campfires are now prohibited.
The image pictured on the right depicts the severity of the drought in the U.S., with California in what is classified as an ‘exceptional drought’.
The recent restrictions on campgrounds will help decrease the amount of wildfires each year till the drought is less extreme. However, whether fire restrictions are installed or not, campers are encouraged to be responsible and learn fire safety year round.