Tag: U.S. Forest Service

USDA Forest Service Temporarily Closing All California National Forests for Public Safety

Release Date: Aug 30, 2021

Contact(s): Public Inquiries, Media Inquiries

PDF of this news release

Link to Regional Order

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 fall.

Quick Mends follow-up: Forest Service reaffirms all mining prohibited on East Fork

A recent post on this site stirred up the pro-con constituencies about suction dredge mining, with the arguments basically boiling down to habitat vs. access. Although the petition was directed at the California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Forest Service has just posted this on its site:

All mining operations (location of mining claims, prospecting, and mining, including panning, sluicing, and dredging) under the 1872 Mining Law are prohibited within withdrawn areas of the Angeles National Forest.  Public Law No. 578 (1928 withdrawal) withdrew areas from entry and location under the mining laws.  There is no provision in PL 578 which provides for even a limited right to enter the withdrawn lands to prospect.  Therefore, National Forest System lands within the East Fork of the San Gabriel River are not open to prospecting or any other mining operations.

When I called for comment, the Arcadia office was closed (at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday), but without further reporting on this topic, looks to be a win for fishing habitat.

See you on the river, Jim Burns