CALIFORNIA, (KTXL) — Due to the risk of wildfires, Sierra Pacific Industries, which owns nearly 2 million acres of forestland in California, has closed public access into its wildlands starting July 1.

Sierra Pacific said that they normally provide public access to their wildlands for hiking, fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities.

“Despite some of the late spring rains, California is experiencing the driest conditions it has had in 1200 years,” said Andrea Howell, SPI spokesman. “To help protect our forest resources and public safety, Sierra Pacific is closing our California lands to public access and recreation.”

Sierra Pacific is citing the following reasons as to why they have closed their lands to the public:

  • As a fire prevention measure.
  • To provide for the recovery and restoration of areas impacted by wildfire.
  • To protect public safety, especially in active harvest areas.
  • To help prevent erosion of roads.
  • To deter illegal woodcutting.
  • To prevent damage to young regenerated forest stands.
  • To deter illegal garbage dumping.
  • To prevent Christmas tree theft.
  • To protect sensitive research project areas and equipment. Monitoring equipment has been placed in areas where research is underway. Please do not disturb it.

Sierra Pacific said that they will continue monitoring their forests, weather conditions and other scenarios to determine when it will be safe to reopen their forests to the public.

The U.S. Forest Service has also been known to close sections of its forests to also mitigate the risk of wildfire and also allow crews to provide fuel load reduction.

So far this year the forest service has not announced any planned forest closures.