The U.S. Forest Service is closing every national forest in California, citing the extraordinary risk of wildfires and forecasts that show the threat will only remain high or even get worse.
The forest closures start at midnight on Tuesday, Aug. 31, and will run through Sept. 17.
More than 6,800 wildfires have already burned 1.7 million acres of national forest land across California, the Forest Service said, posing a dire threat to people, wildlife and property. As of Aug. 31, nearly 2,000 structures have been destroyed by the Dixie and Caldor fires alone.
- See which national forests are near you.
- See which California state parks also are currently closed or affected by wildfire.
- Read the U.S. Forest Service announcement about national forest closures (PDF).
The closures could help in at least two ways: by reducing the number of people in harm's way and by removing a potential source of ignition for new wildfires.
"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."