With the Caldor Fire swelling, California’s wildfire crisis is to the point where the state is now closing its national forests for public safety.
“We do not take this decision lightly,” says California’s Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “But this is the best choice for public safety.”
Eberlien speaks as part of Tuesday’s USFS statement detailing the closure of “nearly all” California National Forests as a public safety precaution. As of Tuesday, August 31, the state’s national forests are closed to the public.
“It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests,” she continues. But it must be done. As the USFS states, the move serves to “better provide public and firefighter safety due to the ongoing California wildfire crisis.”
To do so, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forests in California starting Tuesday. The closure will be in effect as follows:
- Begins August 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
- Through September 17, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.
The only national forest to stay open will be the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, as it is not in the Pacific Southwest Region.
‘More than 6,800 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres across all jurisdictions in California’
According to USFS officials, “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.”
This is only the third time in the past 20 years that the nation has reached PL 5 by mid-July.
For context, PL 5 is the highest level of wildland fire activity possible. As such, the Forest Service is labeling the current situation an “extreme public safety and fire threat.”
The organization wishes to thank both partners and the public at large for their cooperation. Within their statement, they do ask that citizens with specific questions should consult their local forest website. These, along with social media pages will also provide more information specific to local regions.
Caldor Fire Reaches Tahoe Basin
As of Monday, the Caldor Fire has burned over 165,000 acres. More than 650 structures have also fallen. The fire is nowhere near containment, either.
Tuesday’s closure announcement follows the wildfire crossing Highway 50 and 89 towards the Tahoe Basin. Currently, over 50,000 individuals are evacuating the popular South Lake Tahoe.
Please stay safe out there, Outsiders.