With the risk of fires, The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has announced several temporary closures and restrictions, including the closure of all developed campgrounds and day-use sites on National Forests in California and the prohibition of any ignition source on all National Forest System lands, including camp fires.
The most recent camping prohibition, which affects the Lassen and Plumas national forests, was signed by regional Forester of the Pacific Southwest Region, Randy Moore, Monday, Sept. 7. This Order is effective from Sept. 8 through Sept. 14, and is not limited to developed campgrounds.
The order is as follows:
Pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 551 and 36 C.F.R. 261.50(a), and to provide for public safety, the following act is prohibited within the Lassen National Forest, Plumas National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and Tahoe National Forest.
Camping, except within a Wilderness Area or within 500 feet of the Pacific Crest Trail. 36 C.F.R. 261.58(e).
Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:
- 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.
- Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
- Persons with a Forest Service non-special-use written authorization to conduct non-recreational activities, such as harvesting timber or forest products, or grazing livestock.
This prohibition is in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 C.F.R. Part 261, Subpart A.
A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. 16 U.S.C. 551 and 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571 and 3581.
Additionally, also due to the conditions and fire risks, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced Monday the following temporary closures and fire restrictions to provide for public safety and reduce the potential for human caused fire starts. They went into effect at 5 p.m., Sept. 7, and will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
- Closure of the following National Forests: Stanislaus National Forest, Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Angeles National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, and Cleveland National Forest.
- Prohibition of the use of any ignition source on all National Forest System lands (campfires, gas stoves, etc.) throughout California.
- Closure of all developed campgrounds and day-use sites on National Forests in California.
“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 Sept. 4 and grew rapidly on Saturday, Sept. 5. 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.