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[ft-l] Notice to Hikers: CAMPFIRE BAN ISSUED FOR OCALA NATIONAL FOREST



FYI - Please pass this notice on to hikers (especially the through hikers)
in the Ocala National Forest.  If you can, please post this notice on FTA's
website and publish this in the Footprint and in chapter newsletters, and
announce at chapter meetings.  If possible, please post at all FNST
trailheads and campsites along the trail in the Ocala.  Thank you.

                             Notice to Hikers
February 7, 2001


               CAMPFIRE BAN ISSUED FOR OCALA NATIONAL FOREST


     Extreme drought conditions prompted the U.S. Forest Service to issue a
ban on campfires on the Ocala National Forest.  The ban is effective from
January 25 through August 31.  Fires that are placed directly on the ground
for cooking purposes are considered the same as campfires and are
specifically prohibited.  Devices that are commercially designed for
outdoor cooking are not included in this ban.  They include cook stoves and
above-the-ground pedestal grills.
     This order has been issued to protect the public and the natural
resources of the immediate area.  The ban also extends to the operation of
any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device
properly installed, and maintained in an effective working order.
     The U. S. Forest Service took this action because the drought
conditions in central Florida are dangerously high, estimated to be 700 on
the Keetch-Byram Drought Index.  While a measurement of 400 is considered
to be average, 800 is described as desert-like conditions.  It is estimated
that 12-15 inches of rainfall would be required to restore the Ocala
National Forest to normal levels.
     Individuals who violate the ban may be fined no more than $5,000
and/or no more than six months imprisonment, while organizations in
violation may be required to pay no more than $10,000.

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Kent L. Wimmer, AICP
Florida National Scenic Trail Liaison
Florida Trail Association, Inc.
kwimmer@fs.fed.us
(850) 942-9376 (w)
(850) 942-9305 (fax)
(850) 386-8442 (h)
Mailing address:
USDA Forest Service
National Forests in Florida
325 John Knox Rd, F-100
Tallahassee, FL 32303-4160
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