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Officials warn of weekend fire danger

Even sparklers, illegal in city, provide a significant danger, they say.

July 01, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Fireworks during a local barbecue. (File photo)
Fireworks during a local barbecue. (File photo)

GLENDALE — With sweltering heat in the forecast this weekend, crews will be on high alert in Angeles National Forest, where officials warned that fireworks of any kind could set off potentially disastrous fires.

“Just know before you go what the restrictions are,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Nathan Judy.

While the higher elevations have retained some moisture — likely due to the recent marine layer — tall, ground-level grass is much drier and will light up quicker, he said.

Visitors to the forest areas are restricted to designated campground fire pits and charcoal grills. Smokers should only light up in their vehicles or in a space that has 30 feet of clearance, he said.

Crews will also be walking along forest streams and campgrounds to talk with visitors to make sure rules are being followed, Judy said.

Visitors should also avoid parking their vehicles in dry grass, which can catch fire from engine heat.

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Possessing fireworks can result in a citation, with a maximum fine of $5,000 or six months in jail, forest spokesman John Wagner said.

Forest officials will close the Glendora Mountain and Ridge roads from July 1 to 5.

Local police and fire will also be watching for illegal fireworks — which are banned in Glendale — in the hillside communities.

A police helicopter will also be patrolling the skies this weekend.

“With this weather, fireworks or a sparkler…can quickly set our hillsides on fire,” Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said. “That will be a total disaster on a weekend like this.”

Sparklers can burn at temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees and easily ignite flammable items, especially in hot, dry weather, fire officials said.

 
 

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