Graphic highlighting fire restrictions on national forests

COVID-19 and your National Forest

Although our front desks are closed to the public, you may contact our ranger districts with your questions. Please do not call the Stanislaus Dispatch with recreation questions. Dispatch is for fire emergencies only.

Office Information
Forest Supervisor's office
Groveland Ranger District
Calaveras Ranger District
Summit Ranger District

Please avoid visiting national forests if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest.

Please select any of the following topics to learn more about our COVID-19 response.


Updated Sept. 19, 2020: Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken signed Forest Order STF-16-2020-19, Temporary Camping, Occupancy and Use Restrictions, which prohibits recreational target shooting and dispersed camping in the moderate and high fire hazard areas on the forest, but opens the forest for day use between sunrise and sunset, and authorizes some camping in some developed campgrounds. 

The current forest order outlines authorized activities on the forest based on the three fire hazard zones normally in use for fire restrictions. View the forest order and map for hazard area locations.

For an explanation of what is prohibited and authorized by the forest order, read our Forest Order Fact Sheet.

View Regional Order 20-14, Emergency Fire Restrictions.

Updated Sept. 14, 2020: Randy Moore, the Regional Forester, signed Regional Forest Order 20-12, extends the regional closure of all national forests in California until Sept. 21, 2020.  This action was taken due to the unprecedented fire risk and extreme fire behavior in established wildfires burning on 13 of the 18 national forests in California. Randy Moore also signed an extension for the fire restrictions forest order, Regional Forest Order 20-11. Visit to view the new forest orders and other supporting documents. Get answers about fire restrictions, closures and how hunting is impacted during this regional closure by reading our regional FAQs.

Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit. Due to these conditions, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing the temporary closure and increased fire restrictions to provide for public safety and reduce the potential for human caused fire starts.

Air quality is directly related to the amount of smoke in the air and prevailing winds. Currently the Stanislaus National Forest and surrounding communities are experiencing periods of unhealthy air quality. Before traveling to the forest, visitors are encouraged to check on any active fires in the area at for federal fire incidents, or for any CalFire incidents. In addition, due to the many active fires you may find very smoky conditions across the forest, so we recommend you check the local air quality at

Due to the large number of people, you are urged to practice social distancing and DO NOT feed bears or other wildlife. It is very dangerous and wildlife are always the ones who lose when they become acclimatized to thinking of people as food sources - they are the ones who are killed to prevent greater danger to the humans who thought it was not a big deal.

Finally, many visitors are not practicing good stewardship and are not taking all their trash with them when they leave. Please bring large trash bags and PACK OUT EVERYTHING YOU BRING WITH YOU! If you find that trash dumpsters are full (and they almost always are) please take your trash bags with you and dispose of them at home, or in a dumpster or trash can that isn't overflowing. 

Updated Aug. 31, 2020: Attention backpackers and hikers in the Emigrant Wilderness! Read some important info about water sources before you head to the back country in the drop-down section titled Wilderness Permits below.

 While visiting the forest, stay alert for any fire conditions and be prepared to react quickly if you are contacted by firefighters. Remember that due to critical fire conditions there are NO FIRES allowed anywhere on the forest except in developed campgrounds. Do your part and help keep our forest healthy!


Logo for 3 Forests Interpretive AssociationUpdated July 23, 2020: Are you looking for a Stanislaus National Forest map during our virtual services? Our partner, 3 Forests Interpretive Association, or 3FIA, offers National Forest Visitor Maps for sale online! Learn more about other online map tools.

Updated July 27, 2020: Dispersed Camping

Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no services like trash removal, and few or no facilities such as tables and fire pits, are provided. Visitors are reminded that under Forest Order STF-16-2020-08 fire restrictions are in effect at all elevations of the forest. Campfires are not authorized at any dispersed camping and wilderness camping sites through Nov. 30, 2020. See the section below titled Fire Restrictions to read more about why campfires are allowed only in developed campgrounds.

Dispersed camping takes a lot more effort than camping in a developed campground, but for those with an adventurous spirit, it can be a lot of fun. Be a responsible visitor and practice Leave No Trace principles, including Plan Ahead & Prepare; Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces (No Overnight Camping at trailhead or along trail); Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack it In, Pack it Out) Leave What You Find; Minimize Campfire Impacts; Respect Wildlife and Be Considerate of Other Visitors. For additional tips and suggestions, visit

Forest Supervisor's Notes

Photo of Jason KuikenForest Supervisor Jason Kuiken believes there is nothing more critical to maintaining good relationships than communication. Residents, communities and ranger districts share a dedication to keeping the forest healthy, but sometimes Forest Service procedures and actions may not be clearly understood by those outside the agency. Jason is committed to engaging the community by sharing information about some of the actions being undertaken on the forest. Jason will post a series of notes highlighting some of the vital activities that go into regaining a healthy forest. Read Jason's notes.

A Public Safety Power Shutoff may affect your next trip to the Stanislaus National Forest!

In May 2019, Pacific Gas & Electric Company announced its plan to shutoff, and later restore, power if necessary due to extreme weather and wildfire danger.  Sometime during the fire season, your planned visit to the Stanislaus National Forest may be impacted if your visit coincides with a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff. Learn more about preparing for your forest visit during a power shutoff.

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