BLM initiates Whitewater Canyon closure due to increased wildfire risk

Fire Engine in a California desert.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management will temporarily close public lands in and near Whitewater Canyon, in Riverside County, due to the potential threat of wildfire. The public safety closure will begin on Friday, July 2 and will remain in place until October 31.   

“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. 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.

"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. 

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 exempt from the closure. 

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

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office


Michelle Van Der Linden