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Is It Safe To Camp On The West Coast Right Now?

Published on September 9th, 2020 by Nikki Cleveland
This post was updated on May 26th, 2023

West Coast
Fire destroys Fishermen’s Bend Recreation Site by Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Is It Safe To Camp On The West Coast Right Now?

Wildfires are currently ravaging the entire West Coast and destroying millions of acres. Anyone planning on visiting California, Oregon, or Washington at the moment will need to be extra cautious about current closures regarding both roads and campgrounds.

BLM & National forest closures

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California has completely closed all national forests to public use for the first time due to the raging fires. This includes all campgrounds as well as day-use areas and trails.

According to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management, all developed campgrounds across the BLM Northwest Oregon District are now closed and dispersed camping is temporarily prohibited.  Oregon’s National Forests are indefinitely closed to the public as well, including all NFS campgrounds, day-use areas, and trails.

“This is not the time to plan a visit to the forest,” The Forest Service shared on Twitter. “10,000s of residents are evacuated & many more are trying to evacuate, firefighters are mobilizing, & extreme winds are driving fires. Our forests will be here when fires are under control! Keep roads clear for emergency crews.”

In Eastern Washington, camping and day-use areas are closed in popular spots including the Twin Lakes, Coffeepot Lake, Lakeview Ranch, and Pacific Lake Recreation Areas. DNR has closed all of their Recreation Sites across Eastern Washington as well.

Campgrounds destroyed by wildfires

Some campgrounds have not only closed due to the fires but they have been completely destroyed. BLM recently reported the popular Fishermen’s Bend Recreation Site was destroyed by the Santiam Fire east of Salem, OR, which has grown to over 130,000 acres. 

West Coast
Fishermen’s Bend Recreation Site, destroyed by the Santiam Fire. Photos via Bureau of Land Management

California wildfires have even caused campers to be trapped after the Creek Fire jumped a river and compromised the only road into the Mammoth Pool Campground.

Wildfire map

ArcGIS shared this useful map for tracking the current fires, not only on the West Coast but across the entire U.S.:

Stay safe out there, and if you must travel towards the West Coast, plan ahead carefully. Trip Check is a great resource for those traveling in Oregon. You can also find the latest updates from BLM and the National Forest Service on their websites. Be sure you also have the RV LIFE App installed for RV-safe GPS directions.

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