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Two weeks after the U.S. Forest Service announced broad closures around California due to fire danger, most of the state’s national forests will open again tonight.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Forest Service said that it would lift the regional closure barring people from entering California’s National Forests at 11:59 PM on September 15. The order had originally been slated to run through September 17; in the release, the Forest Service cited increased firefighter and resource availability due to the end of severe fire conditions in other parts of the country, the end of the busy summer tourist season, the changing weather as the state enters fall, and the importance of national forests to quality of life.
“We are constantly evaluating weather and fire conditions in California, as well as regional and national firefighting resources available to us so that we can ensure the safety of the public and our firefighters,” said California’s regional forester, Jennifer M. Eberlien, in a written statement. “Some factors are more favorable now, which is why I decided to end the regional closure order.”
However, closures will persist in five national forests, mostly in Southern California, due to continuing hot, dry weather. The Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Cleveland national forests will stay closed through midnight on September 22.
In addition, Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe will stay closed through at least September 30 under a local order due to the ongoing Caldor Fire, which forced an evacuation of the town as it burned nearby ski resorts and homes. Authorities lifted the evacuation order earlier this week; just more than 3,000 personnel are currently fighting the fire, which is 70% contained.