The USDA Forest Service reports that the Inyo National Forest will reopen on Thurs., Sept. 16. The forest had been scheduled to remain closed until Sept. 18 for public and firefighter safety and to concentrate USFS staff on fighting wildfires.
So, what does this mean for fall color viewing? Considering that Patchy color was reported at Virginia Lakes (9,819′) this past week and that Lake Sabrina is at 9,150′, it’s likely that Patchy color is appearing at the highest locations in Bishop Creek Canyon.
Stage II fire restrictions are still in place on the Inyo, meaning that no campfires are permitted, even in developed recreation sites. Visitors with a valid California Campfire permit may use a portable stove or lantern using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.
Additionally, wilderness permits will not be issued for areas where closures are in effect. Travelers are cautioned by the USDA Forest Service to know before they go where forests are closed, have un-contained or active fires or unhealthy air quality.
Some Forest Service lands will remain closed under local closure orders, such as areas of the Eldorado National Forest. As previously reported, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (northern Mono County) remains open.
In Southern California, Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland National Forests remain closed until Sept. 22, due to local weather and fire factors and the strain that opening them would place on firefighting resources.
At this point, more than 7,404 wildfires have burned over 2.25 million acres across California. The USDA Forest Service reports that its forests in Northern California are at Preparedness Level 5 and those in Southern California are at PL-4.