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Stanislaus National Forest revises closure order for Donnell Fire

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avatar Stanislaus National Forest revises closure order for Donnell Fire
May 23, 2019 03:09PM
Closure order opens much of forest; is extended to Dec. 31, 2019


SONORA, California – Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken signed forest order STF-16-2019-09, amending the forest areas closed due to the Donnell Fire. The forest order was signed May 22, 2019 and is scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2019.

“The original forest order was signed to protect the public from risk of hazard trees, the high potential for debris flow and the risk from rock fall and flooding. New information about hazards in the fire area allowed us to reopen much of the general forest and many recreation sites, although some trails and roads will remain closed as we continue to mitigate hazard trees and do trail inspections,” Kuiken said. “Even though access is being restored, it is vital that people who decide to enter the burned area understand that the forest is significantly changed and is more dangerous than it was before the Donnell Fire.” The forest order and accompanying map can be found at https://go.usa.gov/xUvWQ.

Summit and Mi-Wok District Ranger Sarah LaPlante said most of the land closed under the original order has reopened to the public, and the forest continues to work with cabin owners and area businesses to recover from the fire. “We understand how important access to your public lands is, and we are balancing risks to public safety with opportunities to enjoy your forest,” she said.

A site-specific geologic safety assessment and the work that crews are doing to mitigate hazard trees throughout the area helped managers determine that it was safe to open many recreation sites throughout the fire footprint. “We are undertaking a visitor education campaign to raise awareness of increased hazards that exist in the Forest,” LaPlante said. “We will install signs and post notices to alert the public about the temporary prohibitions to roads and trails. We will continue to conduct safety assessments and reevaluate the area's condition and risk from the fire's affects. As assessments are completed we expect more sections to reopen to the public,” LaPlante said.

The Donnell Fire ignited at 5:49 p.m. Aug. 1, 2018 near Donnell Lake on Highway 108 east of Pinecrest. It burned more than 57,000 acres before being officially noted as out Dec. 17, 2018.
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