SOUTH COAST — The Siuslaw National Forest was closed for public access starting at noon Thursday, according to a release from the National Forest Service.
The closure prohibits access to all forested, sand and coastal areas, as well as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and campgrounds in the forest. Roads on Forest Service lands are closed as well, unless needed for evacuations.
Officials closed the forest after extreme fire danger has swept the west coast, and areas throughout the state are facing wildfires, poor air quality and a lack of firefighting resources.
"Most coastal fires are human caused so by restricting public access at this time of highest risk we can reduce the chance of new fires igniting when firefighting resources are stretched to capacity," said Forest Supervisor Robert Sanchez in the release.
The closure is temporary and will be reevaluated regularly, according to the release.
A number of other public areas are also closed. The Elliot State Forest and South Slough Reserve were closed to the public Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Bureau of Land Management Coos Bay District announced the closure of most of its developed recreation sites east of U.S. Highway 101.
Campfires are currently prohibited in many recreation areas, and much of the South Coast is subject to bans on recreational burning and power tool use.