Campfires banned on US forest land along Santa Barbara coast

March 9, 2022 GMT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Los Padres National Forest officials have banned campfires in the Santa Barbara front country due to increasing fire danger and potential threat to communities.

The prohibition announced Tuesday will stay in effect until Feb. 24, 2024, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement.

The service noted that over the past 15 years, eight large wildfires have impacted the front country communities of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria.

The communities sit along the foot of the Santa Ynez Mountains on the south coast of Santa Barbara County.

“Extreme fire weather events are now occurring year-round and are compounded by the long-term, severe drought affecting Central and Southern California,” it said.

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Santa Barbara District Ranger Daryl Hodges said the front country frequently experiences hot, dry and gusty conditions that are incompatible with campfires.

Forest visitors with valid California campfire permits may use portable lanterns or stoves that run on propane, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel.

Los Padres National Forest extends along about 220 miles (354 kilometers) of coastal mountain ranges from the western boundary of Los Angeles County to the middle of Monterey County.