Several Plumas National Forest recreation sites available for fall recreation, fire restrictions lowering later this week

Beautiful fall weather, with warm, sunny days and cool nights, is forecasted over the next few weeks for the Plumas National Forest and surrounding area.  For those looking to enjoy the weather, there are still recreation sites available to enjoy.

While the Plumas National Forest and concessionaire Outdoors in Plumas continue the process of winterizing and closing sites, several sites remain open throughout the forest with full services.

Several sites managed during peak season by the concessionaire have shifted during the off-season back to the Plumas National Forest.  These sites have reduced amenities and lower or no fees but remain open as long as they are accessible.

Area residents and visitors planning to recreate on the Forest are encouraged to check that the recreation sites are still open.  Current site status is available at www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/plumas/recreation or by calling Plumas National Forest offices.

Mill Creek Campground on the Mount Hough Ranger District is now closed for the season to replace toilets at the facility.

Due to reduced services and winterization at recreation sites, including shutting off water systems and securing restroom facilities, campers should be prepared with plenty of water and supplies.  Leave No Trace principles should be followed.

Bears continue to be a challenge at area recreation sites as they look for food and prepare for hibernation.  Food and coolers should be secured and bear lockers should be used when available.

Those recreating in the forest should also monitor current conditions.  As the seasons change, weather in the Sierras can change rapidly with very little warning.  A warm, sunny day can quickly change to cold and snow in only a few hours.

Fire restrictions are lowering to Stage I effective Friday, Sept. 30.  Fire danger has reduced enough to lower the restrictions, but not enough to fully lift them.

“With current conditions, including hot daytime temperatures and variable winds, there is still a significant risk of wildfires,” said Plumas National Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer Mitch Wilson.  “We have been incredibly fortunate so far this fire season and appreciate everyone’s continued vigilance and care in these last few weeks until fall rain and winter snow starts.”

Under Stage I Fire Restrictions, campfires are only allowed at designated recreation sites inside provided fire rings.

To help prevent wildfires, it’s advised to do the following:

  • Before going camping, check fire restrictions in place and never leave a campfire unattended. Build campfires in designated fire rings, clear of debris and keep water and a shovel nearby. Make sure campfires are out and cool to the touch before leaving the area.
  • Consider alternatives to a campfire, such as a portable camp stove.
  • Smoking should only be in a closed vehicle or fire-safe area and always dispose of cigarette debris in some type of an ashtray. Check local Fire Restrictions for specific rules.
  • Do not drive or park in tall grass or on roads with heavy, fine fuel accumulations. Exhaust particles, hot exhaust pipes and hot catalytic converters can start grass fires in a matter of seconds. Also, maintain proper tire pressure – driving on exposed wheel rims can throw sparks.
  • Secure chains properly from trailers or other equipment.  Sparks from dragging chains, and exhaust from ATVs and motorcycles, can start grass fires. Spark arresters are required on all recreational and portable gasoline-powered equipment.
  • Carry firefighting equipment in vehicles, including a shovel, at least one gallon of water or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher.  Report suspected wildfires by calling 911.

Plumas National Forest Fire and Aviation Management resources are continuing increased staffing as needed while there is increased risk of wildfire.

As wildfire season continues, anyone recreating in the forest should maintain awareness of available evacuation routes in case of wildfire and watch for smoke and emergency traffic.

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.