The 318,400-acre Rush fire has forced state wildlife officials to cancel all hunting permits for sage grouse in Lassen County.
The California Fish and Game Commission took unanimous action in an emergency session Monday, effectively closing the September 2012 sage-grouse hunting season in both the east and central Lassen zones.
The Rush fire, which started Aug. 12 from lightning strikes, has burned nearly all of the highest quality sage habitat for all sage grouse in the eastern Lassen County area, said Scott Gardner, sage grouse coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Game.
Sage grouse are a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act because of loss and degradation of habitat, in part due to wildfire and invasive plants.
The Rush fire, which started 15 miles southeast of Ravendale, has burned south along Highway 395 to just northeast of Honey Lake. It crossed the state line in several places, burning 42,844 acres in Nevada.
It is expected to be contained Thursday.
– Jane Braxton Little