Volcanic mountains

Dixie Fire forces closure of Lassen Volcanic National Park

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An emergency shutdown was issued Thursday for Lassen Volcanic National Park as the Dixie fire raged north and set the forest on the east side of the park ablaze.

The closure “guarantees firefighters unhindered access to all areas of the park,” Park Superintendent Jim Richardson said in a statement. “The current park priorities are to ensure the immediate evacuation of visitors and to protect the facilities along the park road and in the areas of Lake Manzanita and the Minerals Headquarters” on the west side of the park.

Massive plumes of smoke could be spotted from the Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitor center on Highway 89 towards the south entrance to the park.

The park is in the process of evacuating visitors in accordance with the broader mandatory evacuations underway in areas to the east and south. Lassen, known for its striking geological features, receives approximately 500,000 visitors per year and is located at the intersection of four counties in far northern California: Lassen, Shasta, Tehama and Plumas, where the Dixie Fire began.

Evacuations may soon arrive for Lassen and Shasta counties as well.

On July 24, the park closed backcountry areas to all users and banned visitors from traveling to Warner Valley and Juniper Lake due to concerns about the Dixie fire.

The land on the east side of Lassen is a mix of thick forests, mountains, flat plains, and lakes, and contains campgrounds, backcountry campsites, hiking trails, and cabins.

An up-to-date map of evacuation zones is available at www.Community.ZoneHaven.com.

Gregory Thomas is the editor of the lifestyle & outdoor column of the Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @GregRThomas