California · Travel

California’s national forests see wildfire closure order lifted two days early

National Forests in California will reopen at midnight on Thursday, two days earlier than originally planned.

The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region had a regional closure in place through Sep. 17 due to the bevy of wildfires currently ravaging California. 

However, Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien said some factors have changed, which facilitated the expedited reopening. 

Those factors include the increase of firefighting resources that are available to California due to fire danger lessening in other parts of the country, as well as the change in weather as summer ends and fall is ushered in. 

“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,” Eberlien said in a statement. 

“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.” 

While most of the state is reopening, closures in Southern California have been extended. The closures at Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests will be lifted at midnight on September 22. 

The Eldorado National Forest in Northern California will remain closed until Sep. 30 due to a local order. 

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig praised the decision to lift the closure early. 

“I’m pleased the USDA Forest Service has cancelled the Closure Order earlier than scheduled,” Magsig said in a statement. 

“Accessible forests allow our mountain communities and businesses to thrive, especially after they endured a difficult year of closures from the Creek Fire and COVID-19 shutdown. The County of Fresno will work closely with the USDA Forest Service to share any information that’s helpful to our public, particularly that of safety and fire prevention awareness.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.