Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument (Closures and Reopening Information)
Springville, February 12, 2021—From August to December 2020, the Castle Fire burned across thousands of acres in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. Forest officials evaluated the most impacted area to refine the existing forest closure. As a result, areas outside the burned perimeter will reopen on February 16, 2021. Details and a map of the new forest closure order can be found on Inciweb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/7048/58989/ or the Sequoia National Forest website.
Lands managed by the Sequoia National Forest between Camp Nelson and the community of Ponderosa will remain closed. All travelers along Highway 190 or Redwood Drive thru the fire area should use extreme caution when driving. As winter weather continues, conditions may worsen, making roads impassable. Be aware of potential safety hazards such as fire weakened trees, falling rocks, mud, and debris washed down from steep banks.
In the spring, some developed campgrounds and recreation sites will reopen first, while dispersed camping and foot traffic will not be permitted in the fire area. Most recreation opportunities below Camp Nelson will be open. Recreation opportunities along the Western Divide Highway, including the Trail of 100 Giants, will open when weather permits.
The North Road (FS21S50) and the Lloyd Meadow Road (FS22S82) north of Dry Meadow Road (FS22S53) will remain closed, possibly through summer. Access for trails into the Golden Trout Wilderness will be limited to the Blackrock Trailhead or trailheads in neighboring Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest. Wilderness permits for travel from Blackrock Trailhead can be obtained on the Sequoia National Forest website https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sequoia/passes-permits/recreation.
Fire and resource specialists continue their efforts toward fire suppression repair, burned area emergency response (BAER) and long-term recovery and restoration of the area. Work to remove hazard trees along roads and trails, recreation sites, and around communities will start again as soon as weather permits. A more detailed landscape restoration project is in the planning stage but will take years to complete on the ground.
“I am pleased to announce that we have been able to reopen some areas to the public. Please help us by respecting the closures that are still in effect; these are in place for public safety,” stated District Ranger Eric LaPrice. “Offering recreational opportunities to the public is important to us. Forest officials must balance reopening areas too soon that are naturally recovering from fire, especially sequoia groves. To prevent trampling of new growth and compaction of soil, we ask the public to stay on roads and trails in the burned areas as they become available.”