I started to post a comment to yesterday’s post, but thought that in fact this should probably be a new post.
The current maximum fine for an illegal campfire is $5,000.00. Whether it is imposed, or how much is imposed, is quite another thing. From the order banning campfires in LPNF on June 26, 2010 until the rains: “A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. 16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581.” In other words, it is a federal misdemeanor. A criminal act. You can read the entire order here:
Yesterday’s illegal campfire was in the exact same spot I posted at my “How not to build a campfire” which is here: it is the second fire ring, behind the grass up against the bushes.
What is distressing about these campfires is that they are below the only really populated area on Plaskett. Lots of structures. Fortunately, that portion of the road is often in the fog, and is regularly traveled by locals, and so fires there are usually caught in time to report them before they run amok.
Today, a friend found yet ANOTHER illegal campfire only a few hundred yards away from yesterday’s camp fire!! He reported it to the USFS. Now, if they actually fined these people the maximum (probably not, unless they have a history) that $10K could pay for some much needed work and/or equipment to actually prevent this sort of behavior. I would love to see tickets or arrests made for each and every illegal campfire, particularly where as here, the offenders are immediately caught. Until the current codes are enforced, regularly, the behavior will not stop.
Come on USFS. You can make some money here. Stop treating these people as lost, clueless souls, and treat them as the danger they really are.