VALLEJO, Calif., Sept. 2, 2022—With Labor Day weekend approaching, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region reminds visitors to recreate responsibly, plan ahead, and prepare for any forest closures and fire restrictions.

This year, there have been more than 500 fires on California national forests with approximately 98 percent contained within the first 48 hours thanks to the preparedness of our fire personnel and partners.

Recreators are encouraged to prepare themselves and others as they plan to visit and enjoy their public lands. The following tips were provided by Forest Service recreation and public service officers based on situations recently seen on California national forests:

  • Plan for heat warnings: Rising temperatures across California can pose potential risk for campers and hikers from heat-related illnesses that prevent the body from cooling down. Use sunscreen, stay hydrated, and plan early or afternoon hikes to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Conserve water wisely: Always bring enough water when recreating outdoors and ensure all spigots and valves are tightly turned off at recreation sites and pumps to protect limited water supplies.
  • Note hazard trees: Falling trees are an ever-present hazard when hiking and camping in national forests. Be aware of your surroundings and high winds and avoid parking or camping where damaged trees are present.
  • Leave your site cleaner than you found it: Protect wildlife and waters by using trash receptacles correctly; or pack out what you pack in. Look around for dropped items, like trash and toys.
  • Minimize campfire impacts: Note any fire restrictions in place before starting a campfire. Consider a portable camp stove for the least impact.

“Our national forests see the highest number of visitors during this holiday weekend,” said Jim Bacon, Regional Director of Public Services. “With extreme drought and fire conditions statewide, extra diligence can go a long way to ensure we all enjoy the outdoors this weekend while keeping everyone safe.”

Visit Leave No Trace to learn more and follow #RecreateResponsibly on social media.