ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST (CBS13) — Amid a Red Flag Warning and grave fire conditions, the U.S. Forest Service has taken unprecedented steps to prevent disaster.
“We have closed down the developed recreation in the Eldorado National Forest. What we’re doing by closing the developed recreation site is also making sure that those folks who may be in harm’s way in the event of a fire start are actually not in harm’s way,” Jeff Marsolais, Eldorado National Forest Supervisor, said.
With heavy winds expected to move potential wildfires quickly, five Northern California National Forests, including Eldorado, are closed to campers. Visitors were warned to get out now.
“Get out of harm’s way in the event that we have a fire over the next few days,” Marsolais said.
Campground visitor Ursula Hansen says the sky above her Eldorado campground was filled with ash.
“We felt the ashes when we were up on the Rubicon. It covered the sky. We barely had any sunlight yesterday,” Hansen said.
She packed up Monday and headed home.
“Living in California you expect it, hope it doesn’t happen, but you learn how to adjust and adapt,” Hansen said.
The U.S. Forest Service is conducting emergency closures like these for the first time in decades. Marsolais says this fire season has been relentless.
“It’s been a grind. This has been a really difficult year. Everybody is in it together to try to put these fires out and save our natural resources and save the public,” Marsolais said.
The state has garnered support from the California National Guard and international help from the Canadian government.
The campground closures will continue through September 14, though US Forest Service will reevaluate each day to make sure those closures are still necessary.