BLM initiates Whitewater Canyon closure due to increased wildfire risk


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office

Media Contact:

Michelle Van Der Linden

Desert mountain rising above grassy valley. Photo by Stephen Razo, BLM.PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management will temporarily close public lands in and near Whitewater Canyon, located in Riverside County, due to the potential threat of wildfire. The public safety closure will begin on Wednesday, May 6, and will remain in place until October 31.

“The temporary closure is necessary due to that fact that a wildfire in this area where there is only one public egress road could cause significant risk to Whitewater Canyon residents and visitors,” said Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office Manager Doug Herrema. “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 BLM-managed public lands 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 both are available on BLM’s website.

The public is reminded 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.

Visitors using Whitewater Canyon Road as a means of accessing the Whitewater Preserve are not affected by this closure. Other uses of the canyon are exempt from the closure as specified in the order.

For more information, contact the BLM California Desert District Office at 951-697-5200, or the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office at 760-833-7100.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.