All national forests in California will close Wednesday evening as the state sees “explosive growth of fires throughout” the state.
The U.S. Forest Service closed eight national forests in Southern California Monday night, and the rapid growth Tuesday in windy weather conditions led to the decision to close the remaining 10 forest areas.
Nearly 2.3 million acres have burned already this year, setting a state record. Roughly two dozen wildfires are burning currently.
“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the state is historic," said Regional Forester Randy Moore in a release. "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.”
More than 140 people had to be rescued from the path of the Creek Fire this week. Some were hikers and campers trapped without a way to escape the rapidly spreading flames. The Creek Fire is burning in part of the Sierra National Forest, which was closed to visitors on Monday.
The Forest Service manages 18 National Forests in California, which take up almost 20 million acres. Those designated forests also supply 50 percent of the water in California.