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Temporary closure of all California national forests due to “wildfire crisis”


All California National Forests will be closed from late Tuesday through mid-September, according to an order released by the US Forest Service. The agency said the closures would help “better ensure the safety of the public and firefighters due to the California wildfire crisis. “

The closures will be in effect from August 31 at 11:59 p.m. local time until the same time on September 17, according to the USDA Forest Service’s Southwest Pacific region. The order does not affect the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Forest Service said, because it is not in the Southwest Pacific region.

“We are not taking this decision lightly but it is the best choice for public safety,” said regional forester Jennifer Eberlien. “It’s especially difficult as Labor Day weekend approaches, when so many people are enjoying our national forests.”

The Forest Service listed in its opinion a variety of factors that made its decision, including public safety in the event of an emergency, as well as the “decrease in the potential for new fires at a time when firefighting resources. are extremely limited “.

Officials also listed the criteria for people who are exempt from the ordinance, including those with specific permits and those who are federal, state or local officials performing official duties.

Officials said that “more than 6,800 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres in all jurisdictions in California, and the National Forest Fire Preparedness Level … is at PL5 as of July 14, 2021, only the third time in the past 20 years that the nation has reached the PL5 level in mid-July, indicating the highest level of wildfire activity. “

The Forest Service said in its order that “the forecast shows that conditions this season are the same or worse as we approach the end of summer and fall.”

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