Angeles National Forest closure extended

Hand crews move in to battle a brush fire on Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Amid a historic fire season and continued extreme fire conditions, the U.S. Forest Service announced it had extended the closure of the Angeles National Forest until Oct. 8.

“Wildfires this year have taken a terrible toll on the Angeles National Forest,” ANF officials said in a prepared statement. “Fire conditions remain extreme and a risk to public safety.”

Just this year, the Angeles National Forest has seen an unprecedented number of wildfires, including four major fires and numerous smaller ones that have burned nearly 150,000 of the forest’s 650,000 acres.

The extension comes after all 18 of the state’s forests were temporarily closed last month, with 11 since reopening to varying degrees. 

Along with the Angeles National Forest, six other forests, including the Los Padres National Forest, which also borders the Santa Clarita Valley, remain closed, with the decision to reopen expected to be reviewed daily, taking fire and weather conditions into account.

The closure prohibits going into or being on National Forest lands, including roads and trails.

“We understand how important access to national forests is to our visitors,” Randy Moore, regional forester for the Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region, said in the statement. “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 be to prevent any new fires on the landscape.”

In a typical fire season, California will see approximately 300,000 acres burn, but this year alone, more than 3 million acres have already burned statewide, with 13 out of the 18 National Forests currently ablaze, according to ANF officials. 

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