Halt, hikers and campers: Closures extended at 4 national forests ringing L.A.

 Hikers with backpacks overlooking mountains
The four national forests in Southern California, closed Aug. 31 by authorities hoping to prevent fires, will remain off limits through at least Sept. 22. These hikers were walking the Pacific Crest Trail near Mt. Laguna in Cleveland National Forest in early April.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The four national forests that surround Los Angeles — Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland — will remain closed at least through Sept. 22 as a measure to prevent fires, according to a Forest Service order posted Tuesday.

That adds at least five days to an earlier order to shut those and other California national forests from Aug. 31 through Sept. 17.


The order said the extended closures are “due to local weather and fire factors, as well as a temporary strain on firefighting resources supporting large fires in other areas of the state.”

Selected sites near ongoing wildfires, such as Eldorado National Forest near the Caldor fire in Northern California, will remain closed too.

However, some forests will reopen Wednesday, two days earlier than the original closure order called for.

Anyone with hiking or camping plans should, before departing, check the status of the national forest you plan to visit.

Climate warming has exposed an additional 31,400 square miles of forests to fire at higher elevations, where flames are scorching terrains that previously were too wet to burn.

Among the fire-related factors behind Tuesday’s announcement:

  • Last week, lightning strikes touched off two fires that have shut Sequoia National Park and now threaten giant sequoias in the Giant Forest. The KNP Complex fire grew fivefold this week to almost 6,000 acres.
  • Farther north, the Dixie fire, on the brink of 1 million acres, devoured almost half of Lassen Volcanic National Park, whose landscape was formed by explosive eruptions. It’s 75% contained.
  • The small but stubborn Route fire in Castaic in parts of the Angeles National Forest swallowed around 500 acres. As of Tuesday, it was 63% contained.

Check out updates at and the L.A. Times wildfire map.