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Campfires and charcoal barbecues will be allowed in all areas of Los Padres National Forest under relaxed fire restrictions, the U.S. Forest Service announced today.

Snow and rain across Los Padres has provided sufficient moisture levels to reduce fire restrictions in the forest effective immediately, according to the Forest Service. Smoking and target shooting prohibitions in Los Padres are also being lifted.

A free California campfire permit is required to build a campfire outside of designated campfire use sites. Visitors who build wood or charcoal fires outside of designated campfire use sites also must clear all flammable material for a minimum of 5 feet in all directions; have a shovel available for preparing and extinguishing the fire; have a responsible person in attendance at all times; and extinguish the fire with water, using the "drown, stir and feel" method.

The following fire restrictions will remain in effect:

• Spark arresters are required on all off-highway vehicles, chainsaws, and other internal combustion engines and equipment;

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• A permit is required for all welding, grinding, cutting, or use of explosives;

• Tracer ammunition is prohibited at all times;

• Fireworks are prohibited in Los Padres National Forest at all times and in all places.

For information, call the Santa Lucia Ranger Station, 925-9538.

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