Angeles National Forest officials announced Wednesday that the current forest-wide emergency closure order has been extended till midnight of Sept. 22.
The Angeles, Cleveland, and San Bernardino National Forests are also extending their forest-wide closures through Sept. 22.
Moreover, conditions on the forest have prompted Angeles forest fire managers to increase the fire danger level from Extreme to Critical. New fires continue to occur and major incidents have the potential to exhaust all resources. This increase in the fire danger will necessitate the need to restrict access to the national forest for non-essential activities.
“Through this order we hope to minimize the likelihood that visitors could become entrapped during an emergency and decrease the potential for new fire starts at a time of extremely limited firefighting resources. Severe and persistent drought due to hot and dry weather has led to rapid growth and increasingly unpredictable fire behavior across Northern California with no relief expected until late fall. Southern California remains in drought conditions and the National Interagency Fire Center predicts that “above normal significant fire potential” will continue across Southern California through September and into October as “very dry conditions are expected to continue along with the start of the Santa Ana wind season.”
“Once our resources return from fighting Northern California fires, we’ll be able to re-evaluate fire danger conditions for reopening the forest,” said Robert Garcia, fire chief, Angeles National Forest.
The Regional Order that closed public access to all national forests in California through Sept. 17 will be rescinded Wednesday at midnight. Due to ongoing high fire danger and active wildfires across the West, the Southern California national forests will remain closed for another week to better provide for public and firefighter safety.
Currently, there are 11 large uncontained fires burning on National Forest System lands statewide, and there are more than 15,000 personnel, 303 crews, and 1,113 engines committed to fire fighting in California. This closure order is intended to reduce the likelihood of a new fire start over the next week.