Officials from Sierra National Forest telling those heading up this winter to be prepared for high winds

SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST (KFSN) -- A sign on the side of the road driving up to the Sierra National Forest is warning folks of high wind speed. Strong gusts that could knock over some of the trees coated with snow.

"Anytime you get into the wintry weather conditions, increased snow on trees, or higher winds, there is certainly an increase risk of trees either breaking or falling," said Dean Gould, Sierra National Forest.

With a very large tree mortality throughout the forest because of the bark beetle infestation, that risk is now increased. That is why Gould said spending time underneath trees during the winter months is probably not the safest.

"We've had them come down in the campground areas on the major roadways that we're treating right now, we've seen quite a few coming down on their own."

Gould suggests if you are going to be hiking on trails, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Dead ones are usually brown or grey.

Gould also said the best thing to do is to always go prepared.

"Take proper winter survival equipment with you ,so should you get stuck be prepared to have the right equipment with you to reach folks and also let someone know where you're going and when you're expected back."

Forest crews have been out cleaning up those downed trees, primarily in areas of campgrounds and roadways.

Ruben Salinas and his friends witnessed those efforts while driving up to Shaver Lake Thursday.

"There was like a few when we came we had to stop for and there was more as we were driving up."

And the Sierra National Forest tells us just because you are around trees that appear healthy does not mean all is well.

"We've had green trees fall already this winter and we haven't even had that much inclement weather just yet," said Gould.

The Sierra National Forest said you can also contact its district offices for the latest conditions to make sure no areas are closed and that there are no risks going into certain areas.
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