Forest safety and evacuation plan in place
Campers encouraged to use the back country but be ready if there is an emergency
The Los Padres National Forest says it is ready with an evacuation plan in the lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area -and throughout the forest - if there is an emergency such as a fire.
Rangers and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department jumped into action on Memorial Day when the White Fire broke out along Paradise Road.
Some campers and day use visitors were escorted out to safety. Some, however, were asked to stay in their area depending on where the fire was burning. All got out safely.
Santa Barbara District Ranger Pancho Smith says, "in this particular case, because the road was still open and we were able to take people out that way, we did that. We do have plans in place to shelter in place and some did just that. Did we learn? We always learn. We learn from every incident that happens because everyone is different."
Smith says there will be many rangers, camp hosts, and deputies in the recreation areas this summer.
Around the Fourth of July there will be extra enforcement to make sure the ban on fireworks in the forest is enforced.
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