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The United States Forest Service’s Fire Use Restrictions Order No 03-13-04, published June 17, 2013 in the Mountain Democrat, prohibits vehicles with internal combustion engines (cars, trucks, buses, etc.) to travel upon forest lands that are identified as being within the “Eldorado National Forest Fire Restriction Area.” This includes Highway 50 and Highway 88, Ice House Road, Wentworth Springs Road, Mormon Emigrant Trail, Sly Park Road and many others. The Order prohibits “operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and maintained in effective working order.” Nowhere does the Order state there are any exemptions to internal or external combustion engines; therefore, all vehicles (except 100 percent electric) must have a spark arrester or be subject to a $5,000 fine and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.
No vehicle I have ever seen or heard of has a spark arrester installed. In fact, the California law that addresses spark arresters exempts all normal vehicles from having spark arresters. Why is the Forest Service now requiring them when driving through a Fire Restriction Area?