Recent rains prompted the decision to reopen most SPI forest lands in California, which had been closed due to extreme fire dangers since July 1.
Closures will remain in place on SPI forest lands in the vicinity of recent wildfires to ensure the safety of crews working to restore and reforest lands impacted by those fires, and for public safety near those burn scars, SPI communications staff said last week.
“Protecting forest lands from catastrophic wildfires is a commitment that SPI takes seriously,” Andrea Howell, a designated SPI spokeswoman, said in prepared remarks. “We are grateful the recent rains improved conditions to facilitate the reopening of our lands for responsible recreation.”
Public access policy for SPI allows hunting and other recreation on most of its California forest lands. Overnight camping, campfires and smoking are still prohibited. Motor vehicles are restricted in many areas for resource protection and public safety concerns.
In addition to the remaining wildfire closures, some SPI lands will be closed for active logging, existing leases, wildlife protection and other considerations.
Fire season is not over, SPI communications staff emphasized. Their point was underscored early Monday when a fire broke out at the SPI plant on Perri Cone Road between Jamestown and Chinese Camp.
Sierra Pacific Industries owns and manages more than 2.4 million acres of timberland in California, Oregon, and Washington and is one of the largest lumber companies in the nation. SPI’s land holdings include about 2 million acres in California.
In late June, SPI said it was closing its lands in California due to extreme drought conditions and increasing risks of wildfires.
“Despite some of the late spring rains, California is experiencing the driest conditions it has had in 1,200 years,” Howell said in late June.
SPI closed all of its lands to the public last year on June 21 and reopened them in early October. In 2020, the company closed them in early September and reopened them in early November.