Due to the extreme drought conditions and increasing risk of wildfires to the region, Sierra Pacific Industries will be closing its California forestlands to public access. Based on the risk factors, including moisture levels, long-range weather forecasts, and current and predicted wildfire activity, a determination was made to close these forestlands beginning July 1.
Fire conditions have changed dramatically. Because suppression is the first line of defense against wildfires, it is essential to close SPI forestlands this summer to protect the public safety and SPI’s forest resources. As these conditions worsen year after year, finding a solution will require additional boots on the ground, more efficient communication, and a fundamental review of if, how, and when backfires should be used.
“Despite some of the late spring rains, California is experiencing the driest conditions in 1,200 years,” said Andrea Howell, SPI spokesperson. “To help protect our forest resources and ensure public safety, Sierra Pacific is closing its California lands to public access and recreation.”
The public’s use of SPI roads and walk-in access to the company’s privately-owned lands will be prohibited. Public roads that cross Sierra Pacific lands are not affected by this closure. Also remaining open for recreational access will be those SPI roads that are shared with federal landowners that are designated for public use. SPI has committed to regularly evaluating the situation and keeping interested parties updated on any changes. We anticipate the closure will remain in effect into fall 2022.
SPI remains committed to the long-term sustainable management of the forest lands. The company is working with the U.S. Forest Service, CalFire, and many others to create a series of fuel breaks across our shared landscape. To date, Sierra Pacific Industries has invested $5 million on implementing a network of nearly 1,500 miles of fuel breaks on their lands, with plans to continue to do more in the coming years.
To learn more about the company’s recreation access policies, please visit the website at: spi- ind.com/OurForests/RecreationAccess. For inquiries associated with the closure, contact the SPI California Public Recreation Hotline at 378-8274.
Sierra Pacific Industries is a third-generation, family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, California. SPI owns and manages more than 2.3 million acres of timberland in California, Oregon and Washington and is one of the largest U.S. lumber manufacturers. The company also produces millwork, windows and renewable energy.