Northern California National Forests are Closing or Already Closed

Update at 6:24 PM on Friday, August 20: We just learned that Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is closing California portions of Carson Ranger District, which effectively extends the PCT closure south to Sonora Pass.

Starting Monday, Northern California’s National Forests will be closed due to fire. This year, 6,603 wildfires have burned over 1.4 million acres in California.

We want to our offer our deepest sympathies and concern for everyone affected by these fires—including the PCT communities of Lake Isabella, Chester, Quincy, Markleeville, and Weed, California; Mazama, Winthrop and Wenatchee, Washington; and Sisters, Oregon. Our hearts break for the people of Greenville and Grizzly Flats, two California towns near the trail that have been utterly devastated. All these fires impact our friends and partners who live in these areas—and volunteers and trail users as well. Thank you to all the firefighters battling these blazes—and we hope everyone remains safe.

Please check our database of trail closures often and learn how to react to a wildfire. Also, check out the fire and smoke layers on our new interactive map.

If you’re on the trail and have a question about what do to, you’re always welcome to call us at 916-285-1846 or email [email protected]. We’re here to help.

USDA Forest Service Temporarily Closes Nine Northern California National Forests for Public Safety, Joining Eldorado NF

VALLEJO, Calif., August 19, 2021. To better provide public and firefighter safety due to extreme fire conditions throughout northern California, and strained firefighting resources throughout the country, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing a temporary closure of nine National Forests. This closure will be effective at August 22, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. through September 6, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

“Fires are running very quickly due to the drought conditions, dry fuels, and winds. This makes initial attack and containment very difficult and is even more challenging with strained resources who are battling more than 100 large fires across the country,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “We do not take this decision lightly and understand how this impacts people who enjoy recreating on the National Forests. These temporary closures are necessary to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well as reduce the potential for new fire starts. I want to thank the public for your patience during this challenging situation.”

The closure order can be found at Affected forests include:

  • Modoc National Forest
  • Klamath National Forest
  • Plumas National Forest
  • Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Lassen National Forest
  • Six Rivers National Forest
  • Mendocino National Forest
  • Tahoe National Forest

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 non-special-use written authorization to conduct non-recreational activities, such as harvesting timber or forest products, or grazing livestock.
  4. Owners or lessees of land, to the extent necessary to access their land.
  5. Residents, to the extent necessary to access their residences.
  6. 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.

Additionally, the Eldorado National Forest is currently closed due to the Caldor Fire until Sept. 30 and has a separate list of exemptions. You can find more info here:

More than 6,500 wildfires have burned 1.2 million acres across all jurisdictions in California, and the Northern California Geographic Area has been at Preparedness Level 5 since Aug. 5, 2021 – 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 fire threat. Citizens with specific questions within their area should consult their local forest website or social media pages for more information.

About the Pacific Southwest Region:

The Forest Service manages 18 National Forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses over 20 million acres across California, and assists forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. National forests supply 50 percent of the water in California and form the watershed of most major aqueducts and more than 2,400 reservoirs throughout the state. For more information, visit


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


Author: Jack "Found" Haskel

As the Trail Information Manager, Jack works to connect people to the PCT. He's involved with a wide variety of projects that help the trail, the trail's users and the community that surrounds the experience. He has thru-hiked (Pacific Crest Trail in 2006; Colorado Trail in 2008; Continental Divide Trail in 2010) and is an obsessed weekend warrior.