Fire restrictions in Cleveland National Forest will increase to elevated level this week

SAN DIEGO - Due to prevailing high summertime temperatures and dry vegetation in the eastern reaches of San Diego County, fire restrictions in Cleveland National Forest will increase this week to an "elevated" level, forestry officials announced Thursday.

Under the stricter rules, which go into effect at 6 a.m. Friday, wood or charcoal fires are allowed only 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 equipment with internal-combustion engines, and mandate special-use permits for welding, grinding, cutting, use of explosives and similar activities.

Fireworks are never allowed on state lands.

The fire-danger rating system takes into account such factors as foliage conditions and expected weather effects on fuels to establish the likelihood of a fire starting within a given 24-hour period.

"The public needs to be extremely careful when recreating within the forest during periods of high, very high and extreme fire danger," said Carlton Joseph, fire chief for Cleveland National Forest.

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