If you had plans to travel to a National Forest in California for labor day, it’s time to re-think. Due to an unprecedented wildlife season, the US Forest Service is closing every single National Forest in the state.
“We do not take this decision lightly, but this is the best choice for public safety,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien in a press release. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”
The US Forest Service notes the drastic uptick in fires this year as a reason for the closure. More than 6,800 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres across the state. The press release states this season is only the third time in the past 20 years that the state has reached such a high level of wildland fire activity, and that it’s forecasted that conditions this season are trending the same or worse moving into late summer and fall.
“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,” noted in the press release.
The closure will take effect from August 31 at 11:59 PM until September 17. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest will remain open since it is not primarily located in California.