GOLETA, Calif. - Los Padres National Forest announced that the Forest Order prohibiting recreational shooting has been extended until June 30 for fire safety.
Despite the recent winter rainfall, fire danger conditions continue to be high in the weather forecast. This means that the potential for a wildfire sparked by shooting is also high.
The National Forest said the fuel moisture levels in the Forest did not recover enough over the winter, currently hovering just above the 60 percent critical threshold. The moisture levels are slow to rise in plants due to their state of dormancy.
The Forest said that long-range weather models have consistently shown well below normal precipitation and drier conditions through the spring months. If these reports are accurate, grass fires will be likely to occur weeks earlier this year.
In response, Los Padres National Forest is continuing its ban of shooting firearms except in the designated target ranges at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and the Ojai Valley Gun Club.
Violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, imprisonment for six months, or both.
Persons hunting during the open hunting season as specified in the laws of the State of California and having a valid California hunting license are exempt from this Forest Order.