Monday, 19 November, 2018

Disappointed Visitors Leave Yosemite as Raging Wildfire Forces National Park Closure

Yosemite fire news a plane battling the blaze Yosemite fire news The Ferguson Fire was first reported on July 13 and has burned 37,795 acres
Kristen Harrington | 27 July, 2018, 18:30

The containment dipped back to 25-percent, but just a minimal 727 acreage growth overnight for an estimated total of 38,522 acres.

Park areas that are closing until at least Sunday include Yosemite Valley, where visitors can see famed rock formations like El Capitan and Half Dome, and Mariposa Grove, an area containing more than 500 mature giant sequoia trees. As Kerry Klein of Valley Public Radio reports, park spokesman Scott Gediman said the closure was primarily driven by concerns about smoke in the park.

The fire has been burning for almost two weeks in the Sierra National Forest, and has killed one firefighter who died July 14, when the bulldozer he was operating overturned.

The closures also come during the park's second-busiest month for tourists (after August), with almost 600,000 visiting the park throughout the June, USA Today reports.

Yosemite fire news Firefighters
Yosemite fire news Six firefighters have been injured since the blaze erupted

On Tuesday, visitors to Yosemite Valley were warned that air quality would reach "very unhealthy" levels.

"We had one guest who planned a weeklong trip", Lambert said.

Brandon N. McGlover, 32, of Temecula was booked on suspicion of setting five fires, including a blaze threatening an estimated 600 homes in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles, state fire officials said.

Another community fire meeting is slated for 6 p.m.at the Greeley Hill Community Center (10332 Fiske Road) in the Coulterville area.

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The conflagration is one of about 75 major wildfires burning in the United States in an unusually active fire season that has already scorched about 3.98 million acres, mostly in western states.

"People are heartbroken", she said.

While no immediate threat has been reported, authorities shut the park to allow crews to perform protective measures.

At least a thousand campground and hotel bookings will be canceled - to say nothing of the impact on day visitors, park workers and small businesses along the highway.

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Yosemite - the fifth-most visited USA national park in 2017 - is open all year but three-quarters of visitors come from May through October, peaking at more than a million across July and August.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in several communities while others have been told to get ready to leave if necessary.

In the state's far north, a almost 4-square-mile (10-square-kilometre) wildfire has forced the evacuation of French Gulch, a small Shasta County community that dates to the Gold Rush.

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