The San Bernardino National Forest has announced a temporarily closure of all forest lands due to the recent extreme weather beginning Friday at 11:59 p.m. and lasting through Mar. 16 at 11:59 p.m.
According to Forest Service officials, the emergency forest-wide closure was enacted mainly because of Governor Gavin Newsom’s state of emergency declaration for mountain communities, many of which lie within and neighbor the national forest.
Many local roads are still impassable following the historic winter storm, and the closure looks to improve access through National Forest System lands for first responders and those attempting to leave or access their homes.
The closure also minimizes the number of rescue operations that must be carried out in the area which has seen an uptick in avalanche reports.
In addition, the Forest Service also says that they need to devote more resources towards “addressing this winter storm emergency” and that if they were to remain open as normal, it would leave “insufficient resources available to manage less-impacted portions of the forest in the usual manner.”
For exemptions to the Order, see below:
Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(e), the following persons 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;
- Owners or lessees of land in the area;
- Residents of the area, including Recreation Residence permit holders;
- Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire-fighting force in the performance of an official duty;
- Persons engaged in a business, trade, or occupation in the area; and
- Persons holding valid permits authorizing them to use the Bonita Ranch Campground or the Lytle Creek Firing Line, in accordance with the terms of their permits; and holders of valid ski passes issued by Forest Service-permitted ski resorts that remain open for business.