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San Bernardino National Forest Temporarily Closing for Public Safety

SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS — To better provide public and community safety due to the recent extreme weather the San Bernardino National Forest is announcing a temporary closure of all forest lands.

This closure will be in effect from March 3, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. through March 16, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.  

Factors that led to this decision include:

This emergency forest-wide closure is necessary to protect public safety in light of severe winter storms that have impacted the area this week, causing California’s Governor to declare a state of emergency for mountain communities in San Bernardino County. 

Roads are impassible in portions of the Forest and emergency response is difficult due to the extreme amount of snow that has fallen.  Avalanches are being reported in the area.  Residents of communities within and neighboring the Forest have become stranded and are running low on food and water.  State and local partners of the Forest are working to clear roads and conduct rescue operations. 

This Closure Order will improve access through National Forest System lands for first responders and those attempting to leave or access their homes, while minimizing the number of rescue operations that must be conducted.  Additionally, National Forest staff resources are needed to address this winter storm emergency, leaving insufficient resources available to manage less-impacted portions of the Forest in the usual manner. 

Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:

1.       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;

2.       Owners or lessees of land in the area;

3.       Residents of the area, including Recreation Residence permit holders;

4.       Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire-fighting force in the performance of an official duty;

5.       Persons engaged in a business, trade, or occupation in the area; and

6.       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.

The San Bernardino National Forest thanks our partners and the public for their cooperation and understanding of this extreme public safety threat. For more information please consult our forest website at www. www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf/ or social media pages for more information.


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