Historic Number of Bay Area Parks, Open Spaces Closed During Massive Wildfires

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By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

The wildfires have brought devastation, bad air and loss of lives and homes.

But it goes beyond that for those that enjoy the outdoors. The fires have resulted in the largest collective closure of the Bay Area’s recreational areas in history.

"(If) it feels like we’ve never seen anything like this before, it’s because we haven’t," KCBS Radio and San Francisco Chronicle Outdoors Reporter Tom Stienstra said.

According to the Chronicle, almost 200 of the 350 parks, open space preserves and watersheds in the greater Bay Area are closed due to fire activity.

"Smoke, fire danger (and) fire activity, like where the firefighters themselves might be staging or camping. All of that comes first before you can get access to one of your favorite destinations."

It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a fire if your favorite park is closed, however.

In the East Bay Regional Park District, 66 of the 73 regional parks are closed, but there are only six fires in that area. The expansive Point Reyes National Seashore is completely closed to the public as the Woodward Fire continues to burn there, scorching over 2,700 acres.

At Big Basin Redwoods State Park, damage to the park’s "historic core," campgrounds and facilities has been well documented. Much remains to be learned about the condition of the historic redwoods, though the Associated Press reported Monday some of the most famous trees in the park look to have survived.

As portions of the CZU Lightning Complex burn on the peninsula, all San Mateo County Parks and several county and state parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains are shuttered.

In the South Bay, Henry W. Coe State Park was among those closed.

"This is really rare for the Bay Area," Stienstra told KCBS Radio’s Patti Reising and Jeff Bell on Tuesday. "I’ve talked to several meteorologists about it. They can’t quite believe it either."

Even if the parks were accessible, the air quality continues to keep people indoors.

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