There have been many cancellations of camping, hiking, horseback riding, and rafting adventures due to U.S. wildfires that have burned nearly 7,900 sq. miles (20,460 km) in chaparral and forests. Most of them are located on public land in the West, which also serves as summer playgrounds, a report said.
According to Recreation.gov data, more than 24,000 of the 3.2 million camping reservations made this year have been canceled due to wildfires. This does not include people who did not show up or those who left before the deadline.
California’s national forests have been closed to protect the fires. This includes the Caldor Fire near Lake Tahoe, which is a year-round outdoor paradise for skiers, boaters, and paddleboarders.
The Dixie Fire has forced travelers’ cancellation of their plans as Lassen Volcanic National Park was closed.
Numerous Arizona national forests were also closed in June due to fires.
After being trapped during the coronavirus pandemic, intense wildfires have coincided with a sharp increase in people seeking serenity in nature. There is stiff competition for backpacking permits and campground reservations online. They can be booked up to six months ahead, making it difficult for people to plan spontaneous trips and reschedule easily.
A pass to Mount Whitney, the highest peak within the United States, is one of the most difficult tickets in California. Many people had obtained permits and were trained for the difficult hike, but they were stopped by a fire at the Inyo National forest’s main trailhead.
Debra Schweizer, a forest spokesperson, stated that the trail was closed for 10 days and prevented hikers from going up to 1,850 miles.
Not only have forest and park closures forced people to cancel plans or change them but many other trips were affected by the approaching fires and the pall of smoke that created a danger for millions of Americans.
Wildfire smoke is a common feature of the Western landscape. It can be anything from a strong campfire smell in its mildest form to a dangerous health hazard that can cause headaches and coughing fits. Satellite images show plumes of smoke from wildfires reaching the East Coast, spreading across the sky.