As Northern California wildfires continue to spread, federal officials announced the closure of nine national forests for the next two weeks in an effort to provide for the safety of firefighters and the public.
The temporary closure goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday and is scheduled to last through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6, according to the Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The order was signed Thursday by Jennifer Eberlien, the regional forester for the region, and shared Friday by CalFire.
The closure is designed to also relieve some strain on firefighter resources throughout the country, officials said.
During the closure, the public will not be allowed into the following national forests:
- Tahoe National Forest;
- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
- Plumas National Forest
- Lassen National Forest
- Mendocino National Forest
- Klamath National Forest
- Six Rivers National Forest
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Modoc National Forest
The order exempts the following individuals under specific circumstances:
- Residents of the national parks, to the extent necessary to access their residences
- Owners or lessees of land, to the extent necessary to access their land
- Persons with Forest Service Permit No. FS-7700-48 (Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order), specifically exempting them from this order
- Any federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty
- Persons with a Forest Service special use authorization for an electric transmission line, an oil or gas pipeline, communications site, or any other non-recreation special use
- Recreational activities, such as harvesting timber or forest products or grazing livestock
- Persons engaged in a business, trade, or occupation are not exempt from the prohibitions listed above, but may use National Forest System roads to the extent necessary to carry out their business, trade, or occupation
A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.