The entire San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest is closing effective at 1700 (5:00pm) today, Monday 7th September. In addition to the forest and trails, this closure includes all campgrounds, picnic sites, trailheads, and forest roads. This unprecedented step is being taken due to exceptional fire risk. Other parts of the San Bernardino NF, as well as other national forests in Southern California, are included in this closure (see USFS closure notice here). It is not clear at this time when the Forest will reopen, the situation is being reevaluated daily (although the initial closure order is for one week until 14th September).
According to the website of Mount San Jacinto State Park, all state park trails are also closed. All current trail and camping permits are being revoked. As all public trails into the Park pass through Forest Service land, the Park is functionally inaccessible.
Black Mountain Road is now closed (at the gate about 1.7 miles up from Highway 243), likely for the remainder of the year. One unfortunate consequence of this action is that the Black Mountain Fire Lookout is also now closed for the season.
The Santa Ana wind event expected for 8th and 9th September is described in detail in the latest video discussion from NWS San Diego.
Air quality on the mountain this morning was extremely poor (comparable to when we have had local fires burning within the San Jacinto mountains). From San Jacinto Peak at about 0740, I was completely unable to see San Gorgonio or the Coachella Valley, Black Mountain only a few miles away was barely visible, and looking south (where the visibility was best) I could only just make out Apache Peak.
Please stay safe everyone. Obviously I will post more information as soon as it comes available.