Fires spark more closures, prohibitions

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Fires spark more closures, prohibitionsRangers from the U.S. Forest Service announced temporary closures and increased prohibitions in Southern California wilderness during our record-breaking wildfire season.

“Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit,” said a spokesperson of the forest service on Monday.

Cal Fire is also reporting one of the worst fire seasons in our history, with new blazes almost daily bearing down on an already taxed force of firefighters.

“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously,” said Randy Moore with the USDA Forest Service.

“Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire.”

As of 5 p.m. on Monday, Sequoia and Inyo national forests are being closed — along with all other U.S. Forest Service wilderness in Southern California.

The Forest Service is also prohibiting the use of any ignition source, and closing all campground and day-use sites on USFS property.

“We are bringing every resource to bear nationally and internationally to fight these fires, but until conditions improve, and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely, the priority is always to protect the public and our firefighters,” said Moore. With these extreme conditions, these temporary actions will help us do both.”

Cal Fire is reporting a total of more than 1.8 million acres burned this season. There have been a total 7,448 wildfires causing at least 7 fatalities and scores of injuries.

Some 3,866 structures have been damaged or destroyed. Evacuations are now underway as other communities are under threat of wildfire.

Indian Wells Valley, along with much of the Golden State, experienced record-breaking temperatures over the weekend. Compounding the scorching heat is a thick plume of smoke hovering over most of California.

Health care professionals are recommending that citizens — particularly those with underlying health conditions — remain indoors whenever possible.

For information on the air quality for your area, visit airgov.now. For information about how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, visit cdc.gov/air/wildfire-smoke/default.htm.

“The Forest Service thanks our partners and the public for their cooperation and understanding of this monumental fire threat. It is critical that all Californians and national forest visitors follow these important closures and restrictions for their own safety and the safety of our firefighters.”

Story First Published: 2020-09-07