CREATED May. 15, 2012
WHITEWATER--Fire season is off to a scorching start here in the west. Dry brush is making it easier for wildfires to start. That's why Cal Fire is taking precautions to keep you safe. But you may not be so happy about them.
Several trails are officially closed for the summer. Also parts of the Whitewater River are now off limits.
"The combination between the heat of the day, wind which we're experiencing right now and an ignition source of any type, cigarettes or barbecues will ignite a fire and into the kindling brush and it will travel very quickly," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Patrick Tomlinson.
So on Tuesday the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the closure of 7 trails across the valley until the heat subsides.
"A little disappointed because it's a beautiful area to visit and so you know it's not accessible now," said resident Alfredo Huerta.
The trails are closed because of extreme wildfire danger but parts of the Whitewater River are closed because of flood danger.
Despite the warnings people are still coming to get a look at the rapids. The water may look like a refreshing break from the summer sun but make no mistake, water levels are high, making rapids especially strong.
"They're exceptionally high and quite a bit of water," said resident Todd Smith. "We had a fast snow melt and it's very dangerous to go swimming out here. I would not advise it."
Fines for trespassing can reach $1,000.
The trails and parts of the Whitewater River will be closed until late fall.
-- Avery Canyon, along Gibbel Road, east of State Street in southeast
-- Indian Canyon and North Mountain in San Jacinto;
-- Minto Way in Sage, north of Aguanga;
-- Nuevo, east of Menifee Road and San Jacinto Avenue;
-- Ramona Bowl and Bautista Canyon in southeast Hemet;
-- Reinhardt Canyon, north of state route 74 and California Avenue in
-- Whitewater Canyon in Cabazon.