Stanislaus National Forest is among eight national forests in California that will be temporarily closed to the public starting at 5 p.m. today due to “unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions” combined with limited resources.
The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced in a news release on Monday that the temporary closures are intended to protect public safety and will be reevaluated daily as conditions change.
“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 Pacific Southwest Region.
Other forests slated to be closed were the Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Los Padres National Forest, Angeles National Forest, San Bernardino National Forest, and Cleveland National Forest.
An example of the current extreme fire behavior that the agency cited was the Creek Fire on the Sierra National Forest, which began on Friday and grew rapidly on Saturday.
The agency said the Creek Fire made a 15-mile run in a single day and burned 36,000 acres, prompting evacuations and life saving measures. At least 200 people were evacuated by the California National Guard from Wagner Mammoth Pool Campground and assessed for medical needs.
In addition to the closures, the agency is temporarily banning all ignition sources in all national forests throughout the state, including campfires and gas stoves, as well as all developed campgrounds and day use sites.
“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,” Moore said in the announcement.