All national forests in California will be closed temporarily beginning at 5 p.m. today due to “unprecedented and historic fire conditions throughout the state,” the U.S. Forest Service announced in a news release.
The move comes after the federal agency temporarily closed eight of the southernmost national forests in the state on Monday, including the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
“These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely,” said Randy Moore, regional forester for the service’s Pacific Southwest Region.
Moore also asked that all Californians and visitors take the closures and evacuations seriously for their own safety and to allow firefighters to focus on safely suppressing the blazes that are currently burning in most national forests in the state.
A news release stated the explosive growth of fires throughout the state on Tuesday was what prompted the agency to make the decision.
The Stanislaus National Forest was the northernmost one to be closed on Monday, but the additional closures include Eldorado, Klamath, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Six Rivers, Plumas, Shasta-Trinity, Tahoe, and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
All day-use areas in the forest are also closed, including Pinecrest Reservoir in the Stanislaus National Forest.
People caught violating the closure orders could be subject to penalties that include a fine of up to $5,000, a maximum of six months in prison, or both.