Nevada City, Calif. —Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit. Due to these conditions, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has announced temporary closures and additional fire restrictions across most National Forests within California to provide for public safety and reduce the potential for human caused fire starts.
The following closures and prohibitions apply within the Tahoe National Forest:
1. A closure of all developed campgrounds and day-use sites on National Forests in California.
§ All Tahoe National Forest trails and trailheads remain open.
2. A prohibition of the use of any ignition source on all National Forest System lands throughout California. This includes:
§ A prohibition of all campfires.
§ A prohibition on the use of all gas stoves, propane barbeques, etc.
3. A closure of all National Forest System lands to camping outside designated, developed campgrounds. Camping outside of developed campgrounds, also called ‘dispersed camping,’ includes the temporary use of National Forest System lands for the purpose of overnight occupancy without a permanently-fixed structure. There are several exemptions to this specific closure including:
§ Camping within the Granite Chief Wilderness and/or within 500 feet of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail are allowed.
§ Persons with a permit from the Forest Service specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act.
§ Employees, contractors, and subcontractors engaged in operations authorized by the Forest Service.
These closures and prohibitions above will go into effect at 5:00 pm Pacific Standard Time on Monday, September 7, 2020, and will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously. Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. “We are bringing every resource to bear nationally and internationally to fight these fires, but until conditions improve, and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely, the priority is always to protect the public and our firefighters. With these extreme conditions, these temporary actions will help us do both.”
An example of extreme fire behavior is the Creek Fire on the Sierra National Forest which began on Friday Sep. 4th and grew rapidly on Saturday, Sep. 5th. The fire made a 15-mile run in a single day and burned 36,000 acres, prompting evacuations and life saving measures. The California National Guard evacuated at least 200 people from Wagner Mammoth Pool Campground and assessed them for medical needs.
The Forest Service thanks our partners and the public for their cooperation and understanding of this monumental fire threat. It is critical that all Californians and national forest visitors follow these important closures and restrictions for their own safety and the safety of our firefighters.