Forest Service Closes All California National Forests as Region Scrambles to Contain Fires
Approximately 28,000 firefighters and support personnel have been deployed to help stem the infernos raging throughout the West.
The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service announced a temporary closure of all 18 National Forests in California in an effort to stymie the relentless fires currently plaguing the American West.
The closure of 10 more national forests officially went into effect on Sept. 9, just two days after the Forest Service shuttered the first eight.
Worsening conditions throughout the region, described as a “monumental threat” following the “explosive growth of fires throughout California during the day and late evening of Sept. 8th,” necessitated the additional shutdowns, according to a National Forest press release.
“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the State is historic,” Regional Forester Randy Moore said in the release. “These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely.”
The decision will be evaluated on a rolling basis as the situation evolves, the Forest Service said.
Up the coast, Oregon residents, including the entire town of Phoenix, have been ordered to evacuate due to the imminent threat of an approaching inferno.
“We’re in an unprecedented fire event,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown tweeted Tuesday. “Several significant, growing fires across the state continue to spread due to hot, dry weather & high winds. Oregonians’ lives are at risk. Follow evacuation orders, try to reduce your smoke exposure – and take care of each other.”
Farther North, Washington state’s Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park announced Friday that there will be a complete ban on campfires until further notice.
To date, more than 2.3 million acres in California have burned in 2020, according to Cal Fire, a number that dwarfs the 118,000 acres that were scorched by this time last year.
Approximately 28,000 firefighters and support personnel have been deployed to help stem the infernos that have consumed nearly 5 million acres across 12 western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
“I ask all Californians and visitors to take these closures and evacuations seriously for their own safety,” Moore said, “and to allow our firefighters to focus on the mission of safely suppressing these fires.”
The updated list of closures in California includes Eldorado National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Lassen National Forest, Mendocino National Forest, Modoc National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest, Plumas National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
Remain up to speed here on any information concerning National Forest closures throughout California and the West.