National Forests Close Statewide Temporarily

VALLEJO, Calif., — August 30, 2021. To better provide public and firefighter safety due to the ongoing California wildfire crisis, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forests in California. This closure will be in effect from Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. through September 17, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. This order does not affect the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which is not in the Pacific Southwest Region.

“We do not take this decision lightly but this is the best choice for public safety,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”
Factors that led to this decision include:

  1. By temporarily reducing the numbers of people on national forests, we hope to minimize the likelihood that visitors could become entrapped on National Forest System lands during emergency circumstances.
  2. The closure order will also decrease the potential for new fire starts at a time of extremely limited firefighting resources, and enhance firefighter and community safety by limiting exposure that occurs in public evacuation situations, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact human health and strain hospital resources.
  3. Due to state-wide conditions, any new fire starts have the potential for large and rapid fire growth with a high risk to life and property. The Forest Service and our partners are absolutely doing all we can to fight these fires and will continue to do so, but the conditions dictate the need for this region-wide closure order.
  4. Forecasts show that conditions this season are trending the same or worse as we move into late summer and fall.
  5. Although the potential for large fires and risk to life and property is not new, what is different is that we are facing: (a) record level fuel and fire conditions; (b) fire behavior that is beyond the norm of our experience and models such as large, quick

runs in the night; (c) significantly limited initial attack resources, suppression resources, and Incident Command Teams to combat new fire starts and new large fires; and (d) no predicted weather relief for an extended period of time into the late fall.
The following persons are exempt from this Order:

  1. Persons with 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.
  2. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  3. Persons with a Forest Service special use authorization for an electric transmission line, an oil or gas pipeline, communications site, or any other non-recreation special use.
  4. Commercial recreational special-use permit holders and their customers are not exempt from this Order. However, commercial recreational special-use permit holders, under the terms and conditions of their permit, may access their permit areas to conduct administrative functions and to protect property and related assets. Recreation residence permit holders are not exempt from this Order.
  5. Persons with a Forest Service non-special-use written authorization to conduct non- recreational activities, such as harvesting timber or forest products, or grazing livestock.
  6. Owners or lessees of land, and residents of such private landholdings, to the extent necessary to access their land.
  7. Persons engaged in a business, trade, or occupation are not exempt from the prohibitions listed above, but may use National Forest System roads to the extent necessary to carry out their business, trade, or occupation.
    More than 6,800 wildfires have burned 1.7 million acres across all jurisdictions in California, and the National Wildfire Preparedness Level (PL) has been at PL5 since July 14, 2021, only the third time in the past 20 years that the nation has reached PL 5 by mid-July – indicating the highest level of wildland fire activity.

The Forest Service thanks our partners and the public for their cooperation and understanding of this extreme public safety and fire threat. Citizens with specific questions within their area should consult their local forest website or social media pages for more information.

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Big Meadow Road is Open

The main road to access the Jennie Lakes Trailhead (Big Meadow) is open. Users can now enjoy accessing many parts of the Jennie Lakes Wilderness. Due to the drought, it is recommended you pay attention to water sources as many creeks may have lower to no flows. Plan accordingly and be safe!

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Recreation Opportunities

From the Sequoia National Forest

Most recreation sites on the Hume Lake Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest will be open in time for holiday travelers. Reservations for an overnight stay are encouraged: the area is a very popular destination for travelers. To ensure a camping spot, advanced reservations can be made up to six months in advance by calling (877) 444-6777 or on the web at Fire danger is high; please check for current fire restrictions, possibly banning campfires a few days before your trip.

Overnight lodging may be available at Montecito Lake Resort (800) 227-9900 and Stony Creek Lodge (877) 828-1440 in addition to lodging in the neighboring Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Wilderness trailheads for the Jennie Lakes area are open for hikers. The Deer Cove Trailhead is open to access the Monarch Wilderness; the trail past the ridge remains closed due to hazards. The Kanawyer Trail is closed until further notice due to trail conditions. Wilderness permits are not required for the Jennie Lakes or Monarch Wilderness areas managed by the Forest Service.

The following roads will remain closed due to hazards: Boulder Creek (FR-13S23) Road, Tornado Meadow (FR-13S26), Camp 7 (FR-13S05, FR-13S50), and Chimney Rock Road (FR- 14S29). Visitors are expected to “pack it in, pack it out” when visiting public lands, and overnight stays are limited to 14 nights.

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The Last Snow Survey Results are in for May!

Kings River Basin snow survey results for 2021

The snow survey results are in for the Kings River Basin. The Jennie Lakes Wilderness primarily drains into the Kings River. Site 226, Rowell meadow, and 236, Big Meadows, are some of the closest sites to survey in or near the wilderness. Well the results are not good at all. The Kings River is at 16% of normal for this time of year! Make sure to plan accordingly if you plant to go to the wilderness this season. Be conscious of flowing streams as you pass by as they may not be flowing depending when you go. Be safe and plan accordingly this season.

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April Snow Survey Results

April 2021 Snow Survey Results

The snow survey results are in. Unfortunately it is going to be a dry season when it comes to water. The Kings River Basin is at 44% of normal for this time of year. It was very much the same last season. If we don’t get anymore rain or snow going forward, expect conditions to be similar to last season if not worse. Plan accordingly!

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March Snow Survey Results

Kings River Basin for March 1, 2021

All but one snow survey result is in for the Kings River Basin. Unfortunately it is another month of not looking so good regarding our snow. The Kings River is sitting at 46% of normal for this time of year. Many people are hoping for a “Mircale March” to improve the snow pack for the April 1 survey. This week is projected to be in the 70’s, so that is not good for our snow. As you know though weather can change rather quickly and can surprise us. Here’s hoping for a better March.

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February Snow Survey Results

Kings River Snow Survey Results

The first snow survey results are in for February 1. Unfortunately it does not look good right now for the wilderness. Snow survey results discovered the area to be at 54% of normal. However, February and March are typically the “wettest” months in California for this area. March 1 and April 1 surveys will be important to seeing what kind of summer the wilderness will be experiencing.

Source: California Data Exchange Center (CDEC)

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New Year, New Communications

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you made the best of 2020 as much as you possibly could. The 2021 “hiking season” will soon be upon us. As such with a new year comes many new things in various parts of our lives. In respect to the website, there is a new way to communicate using Tapatalk’s forums. I have created a group there called Southern Sierra Wilderness.

The forums will be a new way for the community here to engage. By default the forums are closed to public viewing, meaning you need to join. Membership is completely free and there are several options for you to choose from in order to gain access. I believe it will also be a way for users to better share their adventures and photos of their trips, ask for advice, and general communications about the wilderness. I hope you find it helpful and I look forward to interacting with everyone.

Ready to get started? Simply click the link below to join in! Hope to chat with you soon.

Forums -> Southern Sierra Wilderness via Tapatalk.

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Trail Report: Weaver Lake

A user did a hike up to Weaver Lake during the first week of August. Sounds like some rerouting is taking place along the trail. Here is what he has to say.

Weaver Lake, last week. Weather great at Weaver. Trail past the turn off to get to Weaver had a few logs across it, causing many to stray slightly past the lake.

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Road to Big Meadows is Open

Road to Big Meadows is now open! Users are reporting able to drive to Marvin Pass TH as well. Enjoy everyone!

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