SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST — Recent storms have brought much needed rain and snow to the Sierra Nevada in the last few weeks, but the result has been damage to some Forest roads.
These storms have also created a significant amount of runoff, swelling rivers and creeks beyond their capacity in many locations.
With the ground already saturated, road travel requires additional caution, as the potential for additional flooding, mud and rock slides, washouts, and falling trees still exists.
For the following roads, Sierra National Forest crews are in the process of posting warning signs/barricades in damage areas they are aware of, and Forest officials recommend extra caution when traveling on these roads, as additional damage may occur.
· Beasore Rd (5s07) – Expect debris to include rocks and mud, water, pot holes, and trees down in some areas.
· Minarets Rd (4s81) – Expect debris to include rocks and mud, water, pot holes, and trees down in some areas.
The McKinley Grove Road located on the High Sierra Ranger District, which is seasonally closed, has had a 65 ft. section of road wash out. Efforts have been made to repair this damage.
Numerous other roads including Dinkey Creek Road have seen damage ranging from washing out, mud and rock slides, and downed trees blocking the roadway.
The following is a list of roads that the Sierra NF has closed for public safety due to damage, their impassability, and to avoid damage from further use:
· McKinley Grove Rd (11s40) – Only open to PG&E and forest crews, as damages are assessed, and repaired.
· Garnet Dike Rd (12s01) – Closed due to rock & mud slide making road impassible.
· Dinkey Creek Rd (Fresno County maintained) – Closed due to storm damage, for road updates contact Fresno County at 559-600-4240.
The National Weather has issued another Winter Storm Warning for the Sierra as series of Winter Storms will once again impact the area.
“We encourage visitors to exercise extreme caution when traveling through the Forest,” said Dean Gould Forest Supervisor.
With the additional rain, wind and snow accumulation, the risk of trees falling increases significantly. These falling trees along with swelling creeks, rivers and streams can impact roadways, picnic areas, trails, camping spots and parking areas.
“I advise everyone to check the weather before and during your visit, and be prepared for changing conditions. Current information, preparedness, and minimizing your exposure to risk are your best tools” says Gould.
Here are some winter tips to enhance the safety and enjoyment of a trip to your National Forest:
· Keep informed on the latest weather conditions, particularly predictions of strong winds and heavy snow. Consider postponing your trip until conditions have stabilized
· Carry snow/ice chains and pack a winter survival kit with water, food, blankets, and collapsible shovel;
· Be aware that trees can fall behind you potentially blocking your exit route; research alternate routes that are available;
· Let family/friends know your travel plans and expected return time. Cell phone coverage is limited across the Forest.
For information regarding the Sierra NF, and recreational activities please contact the High Sierra Ranger District office in Prather at 559-855-5355, Bass Lake Ranger District North Fork at 559-877-2218, or the Forest Supervisors office in Clovis at 559-297-0706. You can also find information online at www.fs.usda.gov/sierra
For weather information please contact the National Weather Service Hanford, California at 559-584-3752 or http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/hnx/
Current weather conditions from Accuweather can always be found on the Sierra News Online landing page.