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Death Valley increases fire restrictions in park

As deadly wildfires continue to ravage the West Coast, officials at Death Valley National Park have increased fire restrictions, which took effect on Sept. 12.

As stated in a news release, Public Information Officer Brandi Stewart said Death Valley National Park is prohibiting all campfires and most other uses of open flame within the park roughly an hour’s drive from Pahrump.

“These new restrictions are in addition to regular annual restrictions on campfires at higher elevation campgrounds in the park,” the release stated. “The restrictions include building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal barbecue grill, stove fire, or open flame of any kind, within established campgrounds.”

Exceptions are made for portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.

Additionally, visitors cannot smoke except within an enclosed vehicle.

The release also noted that welding or operating an acetylene-type, or other torch with open flame, is forbidden except by permit, as is operating a motor vehicle or combustion engine equipment without a spark arrestor.

“Possessing or using fireworks or explosives is always prohibited within Death Valley National Park,” the release stated. “The use or discharge of a firearm within the park is prohibited.”

The release went on to state that although vegetation is sparse in many low-elevation areas of the park, there are large forested areas at higher elevations where trees and shrubs surround many developed areas and popular campgrounds.

Chief Ranger Rob Wissinger noted that Death Valley National Park has experienced two small wildfires so far this year.

“With dry and windy conditions found in Death Valley National Park, the potential for a rapidly spreading fire in sensitive wilderness or in populated areas is high,” he said.

This year alone, wildfires have burned more than 3 million acres across California, while the fire season has another four months to go.

“Taking individual responsibility to reduce wildfire risk while recreating on public lands can keep the public and firefighters safe,” the release stated.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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