Environment & Science

Fire danger level raised to 'very high' in Angeles National Forest

File: A view of the Angeles National Forest.
File: A view of the Angeles National Forest.
Joseph Voves/Flickr Creative Commons

Campers beware: Officials are raising the fire danger level in the Angeles National Forest from "high" to "very high" just in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

The sprawling park north of Los Angeles is likely to see plenty of visitors over the holiday weekend — and being aware of fire danger while enjoying the outdoors is key.

The forest fire danger level is based on how moist the vegetation is and the ability of firefighters to reach and manage fires in the area, Forest Service spokesperson Nathan Judy told KPCC.

The moisture of the greenery at Angeles National Forest has dropped below 60 percent, which Judy said means it will burn like dead brush.

"All the rains that we got this year, it really has dried out now. All the fuels, at least the grasses and light brushes, have dried out," Judy said. "They're pretty much bone dry."

Visitors can still have open wood and charcoal fires, as long as they are in approved campgrounds or picnic areas where steel rings and stoves are provided.

However, visitors shouldn't count on setting off fireworks. Even bringing them into the Angeles National Forest is forbidden — violators can get a $5,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Drivers should also make sure to park only on concrete, as the hot undercarriage of cars parked above dry grass has sparked brush fires in the past. Visitors who take these precautions will be more likely to enjoy a safe holiday weekend. 

"Please be very cautious, be very careful and understanding and patient when you're going out there," Judy said. "There might be a lot of traffic heading up into the forest... but there's always lots of areas within the forest for people to come out and enjoy."