All outdoor burning is now banned in parts of California ahead of Labor Day weekend as firefighters across the state continue to battle multiple raging wildfires.
Cal Fire is prohibiting all outdoor burning, including campfires and open flame BBQs, starting at noon Friday in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties just outside San Francisco.
Above ground charcoal barbeques are only permitted in organized campgrounds or picnic areas, according to fire officials.
Cal Fire hasn’t yet said when the ban will end but that it was in place because of the “current fire conditions and the amount of fire suppression resources committed to the fires in Northern California.”
“The public is cautioned that they are liable for any fire they lose control over,” a statement from fire officials said.
The mandate comes as fire crews continue to battle at least 15 wildfires in northern California alone.
Fire officials were set to take advantage of lighter winds Friday but warned of extremely dry weather over the weekend that could escalate the fire’s spread.
The massive Caldor Fire that forced the evacuation of Lake Tahoe was only 27 percent contained as of Friday.
“It’s finally a chance to take a breath,” Clive Savacool, chief of South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, told Associated Press of the lighter wind forecast.
“It’s a breath full of smoke. Nonetheless, I think we’re all breathing a little bit easier and we feel like we’re making some progress.”
The Caldor Fire is still threatening more than 30,000 homes and businesses. The wind-driven blaze that broke out Aug. 14 has already burned through 210,000 acres.
More than 15,000 firefighters are battling the various blazes across the state that has already seen at least 1,500 homes destroyed.
The Dixie Fire, which is north of the Caldor Fire and is already the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history, is now 55 percent contained.
President Biden has declared a state of emergency in California as the Caldor Fire and others continue in the Golden State.
The move frees up federal assistance to aid local first responders battling the blaze.