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Yosemite Fire Doubles In Size

A fire burning in Yosemite National Park has nearly doubled in size in the past 24 hours. Officials at Yosemite National Park say the Meadow fire has now consumed about 3,000 acres.

Firefighters are trying to contain the fire on its northern and western sides, but the flames are being allowed to spread toward the south and east. Park fire resources are committed to this fire as well as five handcrews, four engines, a fire use management team, and three helicopters from other agencies. Approximately 250 personnel are dedicated to the Meadow Fire.

Some trails are closed throughout the park, and smoke is obscuring some of Yosemite´s most scenic views. Currently there are nine wildland fire use fires burning in Yosemite National Park. The Meadow Fire is the largest of the nine. The term “fire use fire” refers to fires which are managed by land management officials to meet specific ecological and land management goals. Naturally occurring

fires are sometimes allowed to burn and spread naturally when they do not

threaten people or property. The Meadow fire is being managed by an

Interagency Fire Management Use team.

Yosemite National Park experienced widespread lightning activity over the

week of June 27th. The Meadow fire experienced sudden growth on Tuesday,

July 13th.

Fire is a natural ecological process that plays an important role in

shaping and restoring the park´s ecosystems. Aggressive mitigation actions

were taken on the northern and western flanks of the fire to prevent spread

towards the Glacier Point Road and the Yosemite Valley southern rim.

Measures have also been taken to mitigate the smoke in and around the

Yosemite.

After brief trail and road closures due a lightning ignited fire, Yosemite

National Park is pleased to announce the opening of the Glacier Point Road

as well as the trails to Half Dome and Clouds Rest. The Glacier Point Road

will re-open at 7 p.m. Friday, July 16. Little Yosemite Valley, evacuated

on Wednesday, July 14th has re-opened as well. The John Muir and Mist

Trails are open for visitors to climb Half Dome. While some trails will

remain closed along the Glacier Point Road, the Four Mile Trail from

Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point is open; the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point

trails are open.

Visitors to the park should expect smoky conditions that may impact their

experience in the park. Yosemite Valley, particularly during the morning

and evening will have smoke that impairs views in and from the valley.

Smoke in the valley and surrounding areas lifts by the afternoon.

Park visitors may consider areas in the park such as Tuolumne Meadows and

Tioga Pass, Hetch Hetchy, White Wolf, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

and Wawona, The Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, and the Merced Grove of

Giant Sequoias where smoke impacts are not so great. Afternoons provide

clearer viewscapes.

Fire is an essential, natural process in the Sierra Nevada. Over the past

century, fire suppression has altered historic fire cycles, leading to a

dangerous build-up of vegetation in our wildlands. One way for Yosemite

National Park to restore healthy conditions and protect communities from

catastrophic fire is to take advantage of some natural fires.

Visitors should expect localized smoke. Visitors with respiratory

conditions should avoid smoky areas and vigorous activity is not

recommended where heavy smoke is present. The park and the fire use

management team are attentive to the public´s concerns about smoke impacts

to health, visibility, and experiencing the park. The team´s management of

the fire considers reducing smoke impacts to the visitor.