California’s National Forests, including the beloved Tahoe National Forest and Eldorado National Forest, remain closed to the public as multiple deadly wildfires rage in the West.
U.S. Forest Service first announced the closures of eight National Forests on Monday Sept. 7. On the following Wednesday, they extended to closure to all 18 National Forests. Early this week, they extended those existing closures until Sept. 21 and are reminding the public that the closures will say in effect until further notice.
However, the region 5 media relations officer, Jonathon Groveman, added that there is not a definitive date or estimate as to when the forests will open. They will be looking at how the fires progress on a day-to-day basis, but the unpredictable nature of wildfires makes it impossible to say with certainty when people can return to the forest.
More on this: All 18 California national forests to stay closed due to wildfire threat
On Sept. 10, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest temporarily closed all lands, including backcountry and wilderness areas, located in California on the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts.
Randy Moore, the Regional Forester of the Southwest Pacific Region, announced that the national forests closed to “protect natural resources and provide for the safety of forest visitors by preventing them from getting trapped on National Forest System lands during emergency circumstances”.
More than 140 people were rescued after being trapped by fire in the Sierra National Forest last week.
UPDATE: 142-plus people rescued near Lake Edison, China Peak
The National Forests that have closed in the Pacific Southwest Region are:
- Eldorado National Forest
- Tahoe National Forest
- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
- Plumas National Forest
- Lassen National Forest
- Mendocino National Forest
- Klamath National Forest
- Six Rivers National Forest
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Modoc National Forest
According to documents, individuals caught violating these orders will receive a fine, serve imprisonment or both.
All hiking trails and roads in the National Forests are also closed. Individuals who own private property are encouraged to stay at their primary residences but may access their property if it is absolutely necessary. Those who want to access their private property must call their local National Forest for additional details.
Check out the USDA website for additional information on the forest closures.
At this time, 13 out of 18 National Forests in the Pacific Southwest region have large fires. Overall, more than 3 million acres have burned this year across the state. In the Pacific Southwest region, 839,677 have burned.