PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson issued a Temporary Emergency Forest Closure Order on Friday for the Sequoia National Forest to protect visitor health and safety as a result of developing storm damage.

Supervisor Benson announced that due to the heavy rain across the forest, the order takes effect immediately and be evaluated weekly as they assess the developing damage and public safety concerns.

Public access, ingress, and egress routes are unsafe due to storm system flooding and compromised roadways… Next week, Forest personnel will begin assessing damage and repair needs, and future storm events are expected that could delay safe Forest access.

Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson

According to the forest closure order, public access to the Sequoia National Forest will be prohibited until March 25.

Only the following are exempt from this order:

  • Persons with a Forest Service Permit No. FS-7700-48 (Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order), specifically exempting them from this Order
  • Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire-fighting force in the performance of an official duty

While the closure may inconvenience visitors, forest officials urge it is necessary to protect the public and prevent further environmental damage.