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SB Forest Still Closed

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November 04, 2003 06:53PM
Officials uncertain when Inland forests to reopen

11:58 PM PST on Monday, November 3, 2003

By KENNY KLEIN / The Press-Enterprise

IDYLLWILD - With the threat of wildfires now reality, forest officials said Monday that they aren't sure when Idyllwild wilderness areas will reopen.

The San Bernardino National Forest and Mount San Jacinto State Park closed to visitors Oct. 28 to reduce the risk of fire. Four years of drought, coupled with bark beetle infestations, have killed thousands of Idyllwild area trees and increased fire danger.

"It's a day-by-day situation," Idyllwild-based San Bernardino National Forest spokesman Jim Campbell said by phone.

Campbell said the closures may be lifted at the end of fire season "but that's up in the air." Fire season typically begins in mid-May and ends in mid-November, Campbell said.

Heavy rainfall could lead officials to reopen the wildlands sooner, said State Park Ranger Kathy B1owman.

Campbell and Bowman said they have beefed up patrols to enforce closures.

Authorities have issued several warnings to hikers and campers in the federal and state wilderness by Monday, but no citations had been given, they said. An individual caught in the closed area could face up to a $5,000 fine or six months in jail or both, Campbell said. Groups face a $10,000 fine and the same jail time, he said.

On Monday, the closures caused no concern for some Idyllwild businesses.

Justin Bloom, who works at a Chevron gas station in Idyllwild, said by phone, "The closures are not affecting us yet. It's a little slower and will probably even get slower when everybody realizes the closures."

Lake Hemet, a private facility near Mountain Center, is open. Also, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway's upper station and restaurant remain open, but the trails are closed. The Cleveland National Forest, which stretches along Riverside, San Diego and Orange counties, remains closed since Oct 28. Joshua Tree National Park remains open.

SB Forest Still Closed

katrina island 1126November 04, 2003 06:53PM

Re: SB Forest Still Closed

Gary 1121November 05, 2003 10:51AM

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