IDYLLWILD (CNS) – Some of the national forests in California are now open for limited activity, but neither of the federal preserves in Riverside County are open for anything except official access, rangers said Wednesday.
“We understand how important access to national forests is to our visitors,” U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore said. “As we evaluate fire and weather conditions on a daily basis, we will continue to make adjustments to ensure safe visitation. Our aim continues to prevent any new fires on the landscape.”
Both the Cleveland and San Bernardino National Forests were closed on Sept. 7 because of wildfire danger. Part of the Cleveland National Forest is on the western edge of Riverside County, while one-third of the San Bernardino National Forest is in the mid-county region, with Highways 74 and 243 coursing through it.
Under the USFS’s Emergency Closure Order, all hiking, biking, swimming, camping and other forms of recreation are prohibited within the federal preserves. Law enforcement officers, rangers, lessees of forest land and individuals whose homes can only be accessed by using forest roads are permitted to come and go as needed.
In declaring the closures earlier this month, Moore said they were “necessary to protect the public and our firefighters” as wildfires rage statewide.
There are 18 national forests in California.
The San Bernardino National Forest has been the site of two major wildland blazes in the past eight weeks — the 34,000-acre Apple Fire and the 23,000-acre El Dorado Fire.
Eleven national forests, mostly in Central and Northern California, are accessible for some activities, but USFS officials urged people planning to visit them to call ahead first to determine what’s permitted and when.
Additional information is available at www.fs.usda.gov/R5.