All California National Forest lands close through September 17th. Hopes of reducing visitor traffic will lessen the likelihood of new fire starts as continued extreme drought and fire conditions are expected.
USDA Forest Service Temporarily Closing All California National Forests for Public Safety
VALLEJO, Calif., — August 30, 2021. To better provide public and firefighter safety
due to the ongoing California wildfire crisis, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest
Region is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forests in California. This
closure will be in effect from Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. through September 17, 2021
at 11:59 p.m. This order does not affect the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which is
not in the Pacific Southwest Region.
“We do not take this decision lightly but this is the best choice for public safety,” said
Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor
Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”
Factors that led to this decision include:
1. By temporarily reducing the numbers of people on national forests, we hope to
minimize the likelihood that visitors could become entrapped on National Forest
System lands during emergency circumstances.
2. The closure order will also decrease the potential for new fire starts at a time of
extremely limited firefighting resources, and enhance firefighter and community
safety by limiting exposure that occurs in public evacuation situations, especially as
COVID-19 continues to impact human health and strain hospital resources.
3. Due to state-wide conditions, any new fire starts have the potential for large and
rapid fire growth with a high risk to life and property. The Forest Service and our
partners are absolutely doing all we can to fight these fires and will continue to do
so, but the conditions dictate the need for this region-wide closure order.
4. Forecasts show that conditions this season are trending the same or worse as we
move into late summer and fall.
5. Although the potential for large fires and risk to life and property is not new, what is
different is that we are facing: (a) record level fuel and fire conditions; (b) fire
behavior that is beyond the norm of our experience and models such as large, quick
runs in the night; (c) significantly limited initial attack resources, suppression
resources, and Incident Command Teams to combat new fire starts and new large
fires; and (d) no predicted weather relief for an extended period of time into the late
The following persons are exempt from this Order:
1. Persons with Forest Service Permit No. FS-7700-48 (Permit for Use of Roads,
Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order), specifically exempting them
from this Order.
2. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire
fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
3. Persons with a Forest Service special use authorization for an electric transmission
line, an oil or gas pipeline, communications site, or any other non-recreation special
4. Commercial recreational special-use permit holders and their customers are not
exempt from this Order. However, commercial recreational special-use permit
holders, under the terms and conditions of their permit, may access their permit
areas to conduct administrative functions and to protect property and related
assets. Recreation residence permit holders are not exempt from this Order.
5. Persons with a Forest Service non-special-use written authorization to conduct nonrecreational activities, such as harvesting timber or forest products, or grazing livestock.
6. Owners or lessees of land, and residents of such private landholdings, to the extent
necessary to access their land.
7. Persons engaged in a business, trade, or occupation are not exempt from the
prohibitions listed above, but may use National Forest System roads to the extent
necessary to carry out their business, trade, or occupation.
More than 6,800 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres across all jurisdictions in
California, and the National Wildfire Preparedness Level (PL) has been at PL5 since
July 14, 2021, only the third time in the past 20 years that the nation has reached PL 5
by mid-July – indicating the highest level of wildland fire activity.
The Forest Service thanks our partners and the public for their cooperation and
understanding of this extreme public safety and fire threat. Citizens with specific
questions within their area should consult their local forest website or social media
pages for more information.
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