Temporary closure of 18 national forests in California extended

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A forest burns as the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire advances, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Bonny Doon, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced Saturday the extension of the temporary closure of all 18 national forests in California.

All California national forests closed on Sept. 9 due to the unprecedented and historic fire conditions throughout the state.

“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the state is historic,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore. “These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely. I ask all Californians and visitors to take these closures and evacuations seriously for their own safety and to allow our firefighters to focus on the mission of safely suppressing these fires.”

The 18 forests cover over 20 million acres across California. This is the first time in decades that entire forests in the state have been closed due to wildfires, according to a forest service spokesman.

Officials will re-evaluate when to reopen the forest lands on a daily basis, but did not indicate a time frame for when that could possibly happen.

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