Wildfire Safety Information and Forest Closures in North America

Information for Campers and RVers

Wildfire Safety Information and Forest Closures in North America

Wildfires make the news not only because of how destructive they are, but also for the health impacts from the accompanying smoke and ash, which can travel for hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of miles.

How Wildfires Impact RV Travel

For most of the American West, peak wildfire season is from June through September. In some areas, most notably parts of California, wildfires can spark and burn year-round. No matter when they happen, wildfires can impact travel and recreation on public and private lands.

Those impacts may include burn bans, preemptive closures of parks or campgrounds to reduce wildfire risk and keep travelers and firefighters safe, or evacuations of campgrounds or dispersed camping areas due to nearby wildfire activity.

To reduce your risk of being impacted by a wildfire on your next trip, take a moment to research:

  • The current fire danger at your destination.
  • Any burn bans or restrictions due to the wildfire threat.
  • Nearby closures or active fires.
  • Campendium’s Smoke Map feature.

Understanding the risks will help you determine whether you’re comfortable with your itinerary or whether you need to change your plans.

Current Wildfire Closures in the U.S. and Canada

The following forests and parks have issued preemptive closures due to extreme wildfire danger. This list is updated regularly throughout the 2022 wildfire season.

California

  • Citing wildfire concerns, Sierra Pacific Industries, which is California’s largest private landowner, closed its forestlands to the public indefinitely on July 1, 2022. Sierra Pacific Industries often allows public recreation on its lands when they aren’t actively logging. 
  • Large areas of the Sierra National Forest as well as Highway 140 west of Mariposa are closed due to the Oak Fire.
  • The Happy Camp, Oak Knoll, and Scott River Ranger Districts of the Klamath National Forest are all experiencing full or partial closures due to the McKinney-Yeti Fires. The emergency closures are in place until September 3, 2022.
  • Six Rivers National Forest has implemented an emergency closure on all roads, trails, and land in the Lower Trinity Ranger District due to wildfire activity.
  • Death Valley National Park roads are closed due to widespread storm damage that includes extensive washouts, mud deposits, and debris on roadways. The park is currently assessing damage and will release an estimated re-opening date.

New Mexico

  • Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest is closed effective April 30, 2022, and through December 31, 2022, unless rescinded earlier.
  • Areas within the Magdalena Ranger District in Cibola National Forest are closed until September 1, 2022 (or until rescinded) due to the Bear Trap Fire.
  • Portions of the Camino Real Ranger District in the Carson National Forest are closed due to the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires, however, the district is actively reopening areas as they are able.

Oregon

  • The Willamette National Forest has closed the Waldo Lake Wilderness area and dispersed camping areas west and north of Waldo Lake due to the Cedar Creek Fire.
  • Citing wildfire concerns, Sierra Pacific Industries closed its forestlands in both Oregon and California. Sierra Pacific Industries often allows public recreation on its lands when they aren’t actively logging.

Last updated: 8/11/22

Want to avoid wildfire smoke while you’re traveling this summer? Roadpass Pro members have access to a new Smoke Map feature in the Campendium iOS app. It shows real-time wildfire smoke conditions across the U.S. and Canada so that you can plan or adjust your route as desired.

More Resources

Check these resources frequently when traveling to any area prone to wildfires during wildfire season.