VALLEJO (CBS SF) – Nine national forests in Northern California are closed thorough at least the Labor Day holiday weekend due to ongoing dry conditions and raging wildfires in the region.
According to the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, the following forests were closed as of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday and will remain closed through September 6:
- Klamath National Forest
- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
- Lassen National Forest
- Mendocino National Forest
- Modoc National Forest
- Plumas National Forest
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Six Rivers National Forest
- Tahoe National Forest
“We do not take this decision lightly and understand how this impacts people who enjoy recreating on the National Forests,” regional forester Jennifer Eberlien said last week.
“These temporary closures are necessary to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well as reduce the potential for new fire starts. I want to thank the public for your patience during this challenging situation,” Eberlien went on to say.
Under the closure order (.pdf), individuals could face fines of $5,000 or up to six months in jail for violating the order. Some exemptions apply, including to first responders taking part in rescues or firefighting, along with residents and landowners needing to access their properties.
The closures come as firefighters are battling massive fires in some of the affected forests, including the Dixie Fire, one of the largest wildfires in state history. As of Monday, the fire has burned 728,821 acres, which includes portions of Lassen and Plumas National Forests. It is 40% contained.
In the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, firefighters are battling the Monument Fire and McFarland Fire. According to Cal Fire, the Monument Fire has burned 150,000 acres and is 20% contained, while the McFarland Fire is 118,090 acres and is 68% contained.
Meanwhile, the El Dorado National Forest is currently closed through September 30 under a separate order due to the Caldor Fire, which has grown to more than 106,000 acres as of Monday. The fire burning in the Sierra is only 5% contained.