6 RivCo Hiking Trail Closures Expected, $100 Fine During Fire Season

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These hiking trails will likely be closed through the end of 2024.

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA — The Board of Supervisors is expected to authorize Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department Chief Bill Weiser to close access to multiple outdoor recreational locations for the duration of the Southern California Wildfire Season to minimize public safety risks.

The closure was slated to begin Tuesday through the fire season.

Cal Fire regularly closes designated grounds in the central and southwest portions of the county — typically from June to November.

The 2024 closures would take effect on June 1, according to preliminary statements by Cal Fire officials.

“Due to the potential for large damaging human-caused fires, the county fire chief has determined these areas should be closed, except on public roadways and on inhabited areas of private property within the closure areas,” the statement said. “The potential for large damaging fires … this year may be enhanced by the extreme vegetation growth experienced throughout Riverside County.”

Since the rainy season, wildflower overgrowth and blooms have covered previously open trails, especially in the western half of the county.

According to Cal Fire, wildfires in any of the proposed closure locations would be “difficult to manage, given their terrain and remoteness, “officials said.

The following sites would fall under the county’s closure order:

  • Bautista Canyon, southeast of Hemet;
  • Eagle Canyon, between Lake Mathews and the county landfill, just north of Cajalco Road;
  • Indian Canyon and North Mountain, around San Jacinto;
  • the Ramona Bowl, south of Hemet;
  • Steel Peek, northwest of Meadowbrook, due west of Good Hope and south of Gavilan Hills; and
  • Whitewater Canyon, near Cabazon.

The Ramona Bowl would remain accessible between sunrise and noon daily, with the area off limits any other time of day, according to officials.

Cal Fire regularly closes designated grounds in the central and southwest portions of the county — typically from June to November. (Chris Lindahl/Patch)

Still, by reducing foot and off-road vehicle traffic in each location, the chances of a wildfire starting are much slimmer, according to the fire department.

Hikers will be able to see easily marked closure signs at trail entry points to warn potential violators of fines and other penalties.

First offenses usually result in a minimum $100 ticket.

Residents who live in the area of a closure would be permitted to come and go as they please.

The closures are usually lifted at year’s end but can be rescinded before then by the chief, depending on the timing of winter rains.

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