BLM initiates Whitewater Canyon closure due to increased wildfire risk beginning June 1

California Desert DO
Media Contact
a wash at the base of two mountain ranges.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Due to dry conditions and high fire danger, the Bureau of Land Management will temporarily close public lands in and near Whitewater Canyon in Riverside County. The public safety closure, in coordination with Riverside County, will begin on Saturday, June 1 and will remain in place until October 31.

“With only one public egress road in this area, a wildfire could cause significant risks to Whitewater Canyon residents and visitors if an evacuation is required,” said Palm Springs-South Coast Acting Field Office Manager Brandon Anderson. “We rely on meteorologists and fire behavior experts in predictive services, which show above normal potential for significant wildland fires in the area due to the excessive dead and dry grasses from this winter’s rains.” 

Approximately 4,000 of the 1.7 million acres of the public lands managed by the BLM’s Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office are affected by this 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 available online.

"Public land users are reminded that 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-managed public lands," said California Desert District Fire Management Officer, Paul Gibbs. 

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 no more than $100,000 or imprisonment of no more than 12 months, or both.

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

For more information, contact the BLM’s Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office at 760-833-7100.