Local News

Jan 15, 2010 4:20 PM by Aly Kline

Visitors to Los Padres National Forest urged to use extreme caution in heavy rain

Blustery weather conditions for this week have the Los Padres National Forest Service concerned about the safety of its visitors. The Forest Service recommends that visitors to the forest and surrounding areas take extreme precautions.

Safety concerns to the public include, ice, mud and rock slides, washouts, flash flooding, slippery road surfaces, deep snow, and heavy rainfall. The Forest Service strongly discourages the public from hiking in or around creek areas due to high waters, rock slides, debris flow.

The Los Padres National Forest Service recommends that community members who are planning to visit the National Forest and surrounding areas observe the following precautions:

* Contact the Forest Service office nearest to your destination prior to departure for current road and forest conditions.

Monterey Ranger District (King City) - (831) 385-5434
Santa Lucia Ranger District (Santa Maria) - (805) 925-9538
Santa Barbara Ranger District (Los Prietos/Santa Barbara) - (805) 967-3481
Ojai Ranger District (Ojai) - (805) 646-4348
Mt. Pinos Ranger District (Frazier Park) - (661) 245-3731

* Check local weather reports.
* Take a map of the area with you and know how to read it.
* Operate your vehicle only on designated routes, and obey all closure and caution signs.
* Do not attempt to drive across creeks or flooded roads where the water is deeper than 6 inches to avoid loss of control or possible stalling of your vehicle. Water one foot deep will will float many vehicles and two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including SUV's and pick up trucks.
* Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas, properly inflated tires and working wiper blades.
* Carry tire chains when visiting higher elevation areas where snow is possible.
* Forest roads are narrow. Drive at a safe speed at all times and allow extra stopping distance.
* Use parking turnouts. If you park on the road shoulder, make sure your vehicle does not obstruct the travel lane. On Mt. Pinos, roadside parking is only allowed along the downhill side of the road.
* Do not attempt through moving water over six inches deep.
* Bring a warm jacket, hat, gloves, appropriate footwear and an extra set of dry clothes. Layering of clothing is highly recommended.
* Pack extra food and drinking water, a first aid kit, shovel and flashlight with fresh batteries.
* Leave your itinerary with a family member or friend.
* If you become lost or injured, stay calm, seek shelter and remain near your planned route.
* Cell phones are helpful, but do not work in many areas of the forest.

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