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Campfires, outdoor smoking banned outside cities

Rob Gutro/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center A satellite image shows the Central Valley bridged by smoke Saturday from the Soberanes Fire, which has burned 43,400 acres on the coast. Closer to Madera, the Goose Fire started Saturday and has burned over 2,000 acres roughly east of Millerton Lake and south of Prather.


Cal Fire suspended campfires and outdoor smoking Tuesday in all state-managed areas of Madera, Mariposa and Merced counties due to “unusual fire conditions” — with some exceptions.

Cal Fire Chief Nancy B. Koerperich of the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit proclaimed the bans earlier this week. It will continue until she officially ends it.

Exceptions to both bans are incorporated cities and “established campgrounds open to the public.” Outdoor smoking is also allowed inside automobiles.

“Current and predicted fire weather, the lack of precipitation, the dryness of vegetation, and the increased fire activity” prompted the decision, said Koerperich, who noted that a wildfire can potentially “destroy life, property and natural resources.”

Two wildfires are burning in California, the Soberanes fire north of Big Sur and the Goose Fire east of Millerton Lake.

The Soberanes Fire has consumed 43,400 acres north of Big Sur with 57 homes and 11 out-buildings. Three structures and two out-buildings have been damaged as well. It was 18 percent contained Tuesday morning, according to Cal Fire. Last week it claimed the life of fire-fighting bulldozer operator Robert Reagan, a Friant resident and Yosemite High School graduate who formerly raced at the Madera Speedway.

The Goose Fire, which started Saturday morning, has burned more than 2,000 acres, destroyed three homes and two out-buildings, and threatened 400 structures. It was 30 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, according to Cal Fire, and an area east of Black Mountain Road remains evacuated and closed. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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