PLACERVILLE, Calif. July 31, 2020 – The Eldorado National Forest has brought in a fire prevention team to address the increased risk of human-caused wildfires associated with the surge of forest visitors that is occurring during this dryer than normal fire season.

With most campgrounds 100% full, dispersed camping has greatly increased throughout the forest.

“We estimate that we are having more than double our usual visitation for this time of year. This is causing concerns about public safety, particularly if evacuation of popular recreation sites becomes necessary,” said Forest Fire Management Officer Jay Kurth. 

“Illegal campfires across the forest are increasing the risk of wildfire. These campfires can escape and become a danger to other visitors and campers. In addition, the large number of vehicles parked along roadways is blocking emergency access for fire and law enforcement responders.”

The fire prevention team will assist the forest with public education and will be launching a regional outdoor safety campaign next week. “Our messages will remind visitors to take personal responsibility for preventing human-caused wildfires; for being prepared to evacuate in the event of a wildfire; and for keeping the forest healthy,” said Kurth.

The Eldorado National Forest 2020 Prevention Campaign will incorporate elements from already established campaigns such as “Be Outdoor Safe,” “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire,” “Ready, Set, Go!” and “Recreate Responsibly”.
During this fire season, please be outdoor safe by:

  • Preparing camp sites for rapid and safe evacuation in the event of a wildfire
  • Properly maintaining vehicles and trailers to avoid sparking fires
  • Using legal gas stoves and gas fire pits instead of making illegal campfires
  • Choosing not to shoot firearms on hot, dry and windy days
  • Treading lightly in the forest, leave no trace
  • Properly disposing of trash and human waste

“We cannot control when and where lightning strikes, but we can control our actions,” said Fire Prevention Team Leader Francisco Salazar. “Given the low precipitation this past winter in the central Sierra, the vegetation will ignite quickly. We’re here to recommend strategies for heightening awareness and ultimately protecting the public and the forest resources from human caused wildfire and other recreation impacts.” 

For more information about recreation and current conditions in the Eldorado National Forest, visit the forest website. Other sites that provide helpful tips are: