The following is a news release from the U.S. Forest Service:
Effective July 18, 2014 at 6:00 a.m., fire restrictions on the Cleveland National Forest will be moved to the “Elevated” level. The increase in fire restrictions is due to dryer fuel conditions, higher temperatures, and the likelihood of small fires becoming larger fires.
The Cleveland National Forest fire restriction system works in conjunction with the daily Fire Danger Rating System, commonly referred to as the “Smokey Bear fire danger level.” The Fire Danger Rating System is a scientific calculation that takes into account several factors such as fuels conditions, expected weather effects on fuels, burning indices, live fuel moistures, and energy release component calculations, to establish the likelihood of a fire starting within a 24 hour period.
“When you see a Smokey Bear sign that states the “Fire Danger Today is Very High,” you need to know that the likelihood of a wildfire starting, and then quickly developing into a large fire is a strong possibility,” stated Carlton Joseph, Fire Chief for the Cleveland National Forest. “The public needs to be extremely careful when recreating within the Forest during periods of high, very high and extreme fire danger.”
The elevated fire restriction state fireworks are never allowed, wood or charcoal fires are not allowed except in designated areas, and smoking is prohibited except inside vehicles or buildings or within a developed recreation site. The restrictions also require spark arrestors on off-highway vehicles, chainsaws and other internal combustion equipment and restrict welding, grinding, cutting and using explosives along with other activities that require a special use authorization.
The fire restrictions levels are posted on the Cleveland National Forest web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/cleveland.