As a sign of improved weather and fire conditions in much of California, all but five of the state 's 20 national forests will reopen late Wednesday after being closed to all visitors for 15 days.
Forests are slated to reopen at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, two days earlier than scheduled, the Southwest Pacific Region of the US Forest Service said in a statement . Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien hasstated that "some factors are more favorable now.
"We are constantly evaluating the weather and fire conditions in California, as well as the fight against regional and national fire resources available to us so that we can ensure the safety of the public and our firefighters, ”she said.
During the past two weeks, including the long Labor Day weekend, hike, picnic and camping on Forest Service land - which includes parts of the popular Pacific Coast Trail - were banned. The Pacific Coast Trail Association had advised hikers to leave the trail in late August.
More than 7,000 forest fires have destroyed more of twomillion acres in California this year. The largest, the Dixie Fire in northern California, has burned nearly a million acres in the past two months and is 75% contained, according to a fire tracker Hfrance.fr forest . Several other fires in the state remain active.
The fires at Colony, Paradise and Windy were started by lightning last week and are groves menacing redwoods containing some of the world's oldest and tallest trees. Residents of three neighboring areas ohave been ordered to evacuate, and others have been warned that evacuations may become necessary.
Although most forests will reopen , the national forests of Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland in Southern California will remain closed for at least a week. Others in the state, including the Eldorado National Forest in northern California, will remain closed by local order.
The Forest Service said these closures would be extended "due to weather and fire factors, as well as temporary pressure on firefighting resources supporting large fires in other parts of the state. . , including reducing the risk of fire in the rest of the country, the availability of more firefighters, the change of seasons and the passage of peak summer attendance.
But the Forest Service has warned that fire restrictions are in place in all of the state's national forests and favorable fire conditions remain in several areas of the state.