With wildfires burning through Northern California at a record pace, California will be closing its all national forests as a precaution until September 17.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said the closures would “decrease the potential” of more fires, as well as keep people from becoming trapped in potential fires.

“We made the difficult decision to temporarily close all National Forests in CA in order to better provide public & firefighter safety due to extreme fire conditions,” the USDA said Monday.

The Caldor Fire has burned through more than 186,000 acres of land since August 14 and is 15% contained as flames draw closer to Lake Tahoe for the first time in more than 100 years. About 52,000 people have been evacuated due to the fire.

Los Angeles County Firefighters have been deployed to help fight the Caldor and Dixie Fire in Northern California.

Drought conditions statewide make it more likely for fires to start and spread rapidly, and forecasts show that these dry conditions will continue through the summer, according to the USDA.

“We do not take this decision lightly but this is the best choice for public safety,”
Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien said Monday. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”

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