California hunters and anglers will be able to return to many national and state forests this fall as more of the wildfires that ravaged the state come under control.
Following the announcement by the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, lifting the closure of most California forests on Sept. 16, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reopened 34 of its properties to public use.
However, forest-wide closures will remain in place until midnight Sept. 22, on the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Cleveland National Forests in southern California due to dry conditions and the continued potential for fire. There is also a temporary strain on firefighting resources due to other large fires around the state.
Some CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves that lie within or immediately adjacent to USDA Forest Service boundaries will remain closed to support emergency response routes, firefighting efforts, and to protect public safety.
The El Dorado National Forest in northern California remains closed through Sept. 30, due to the Caldor Fire.
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which stretches across California and Nevada but is outside the USDA’s Pacific Southwest Region, remains open to public use.
Fire restrictions also remain in place across all National Forests in California. Officials advise checking with specific local forests to learn if they are open prior to making trips to the areas.
“We are constantly evaluating weather and fire conditions in California, as well as regional and national firefighting resources available to us so that we can ensure the safety of the public and our firefighters,” said regional forester Jennifer Eberlien. “Some factors are more favorable now, which is why I decided to end the regional closure order. I want to thank the public and our partners for their patience and understanding during these challenging times.”
According to the Sept. 14, USDA news release, more than 7,404 wildfires have burned over 2.25-million acres in California.