Increased Wildfire Risks Closes Whitewater Canyon

Ceci Partridge

The Bureau of Land management has decided to close the public lands near Whitewather Canon, temporarily because of increased wildfire risks.

The safety closures go into effect Friday, July 2 through October 31.

“With the approaching Independence Day holiday, public land users are reminded the possession or use of any fireworks, including “safe and sane fireworks,” as well as the use of floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons are prohibited year-round on all BLM public lands,” said California Desert District Manager, Andrew Archuleta.

As a reminder to the public, it is illegal to enter and be on public lands described and identified as the “Fire Closure Area.” Violation of this order is punishable by a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both.

“There is only one public egress road in this area, which could cause significant risk to Whitewater Canyon residents and visitors should a fire spark requiring an evacuation,” said Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office Manager Tim Gilloon. “We rely on the National Interagency Fire Center’s predictive services, which show above normal potential for significant wildland fires in the area with warmer than average temperatures and dry conditions.”

Approximately 4,000 acres of the 1.7 million acres of BLM Palm Springs-South Coast managed public lands are affected by this closure.

Visitors using Whitewater Canyon Road to access the Whitewater Preserve are not affected by the closure, and some other canyon uses, as specified in the order, are exempt from the closure.

A copy of the fire order and a map of the Whitewater Canyon fire closure area will be posted at the entrance to Whitewater Canyon and both are available on BLM’s website.

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