BLM reopens Panoche and Tumey hills to vehicle access, though areas still under fire restrictions


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Central Coast Field Office

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A photo of the Panoche Hills managed by the BLM Central Coast Field Office (Michael Westphal/BLM).MARINA, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office will reopen the Panoche and Tumey hills recreation areas to vehicle access on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Outdoor enthusiasts are reminded that BLM-managed public lands in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties, which include the recreation areas, are still under fire restrictions that temporarily prohibit all target shooting due to high fire risk. The restrictions do not apply to the use of firearms for hunting.

The fire restrictions also ban campfires, barbecues or open fires outside of a developed campground. Portable stoves with gas, jelled petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel are authorized with a valid California campfire permit, which is available for free at all BLM, CAL FIRE and Forest Service offices and online at

Other restrictions for the areas include no motorized vehicles allowed off established roads or trails and no smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or at a developed recreation site, or other designated areas.

It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. For the last decade, BLM records show that target shooting is the leading cause of fire starts on public lands managed by the Central Coast Field Office. Individuals who spark wildland fires, intentionally or unintentionally, may be held responsible for fire suppression and repair costs. The public is advised to be extremely careful when recreating outdoors and do the following: carry a shovel and water at all times, and check weather forecasts and fire danger ratings before leaving home.

The Panoche and Tumey hills were once covered by a vast inland sea. Today, marine fossils of fish and turtles can be found and some of the light porous rocks contain tiny, bleached and shell-like skeletons of sea algae. The 2,500 feet high hilltops offer scenic vistas of the lush San Joaquin Valley and spectacular Sierra Nevada. Both areas offer day-use facilities with parking areas, shade structures, picnic benches, vault toilets and interpretive kiosks showing maps and information.

For information, please visit the BLM Central Coast Field Office webpage at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.