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Yosemite Fire Allowed To Burn

The wildfire that is burning in Yosemite National Park will be allowed to burn and grow. Park officials say the Meadow fire is good for Yosemite´s ecological system because it eliminates dead wood, reduces old trees and adds nutrients to the soil. But to visitors, the fire is an inconvenience. Many of the views are covered up by smoke from the fire.

Yosemite National Park experienced widespread lightning activity over the

week of June 27th. Currently, nine lightning-caused fires are burning in

the park. One of these fires, the Meadow Fire, is just south of the Glacier

Point Road near the Mono Meadow trailhead. It experienced sudden growth on

Tuesday, July 13th. The fire is currently estimated at 3,000 acres.

The Meadow Fire is being managed as a fire use fire for resource benefit.

Fire use projects are allowed to burn and spread naturally when they do not

threaten people or property. A national fire use team is in the park to

analyze this wilderness fire´s ecological benefits as well as evaluate

predicted fire behavior and smoke impacts.

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

shaping and restoring the park´s ecosystems. However, aggressive

containment action will be taken on the northern flank of the fire to

prevent its further spread toward the Glacier Point Road and the Yosemite

Valley southern rim, and to reduce smoke in Yosemite Valley.

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

experience in the park. Yosemite Valley, particularly in the night and

morning, will see smoke that will impair views of the valley. Smoke in the

valley should lift by the afternoon.

While Yosemite National Park remains open through all park entrances, there

are several closures in effect. Every effort is being made to open roads

and trails as soon as possible.

Roads

* Glacier Point Road beyond Bridalveil Creek Campground

Trails

* All trails in the Illilouette Creek basin from Buena Vista Lake and

Merced Pass to the top of Nevada Fall.

* Panorama Trail, between Glacier Point and Nevada Fall. * Four Mile Trail.

* Pohono Trail between McGurk junction and Glacier Point.

* The John Muir Trail beyond Nevada Fall.

* All trails that access Half Dome, Little Yosemite Valley, and Clouds

Rest. Backcountry Campground

* Little Yosemite Valley Backpacker´s Campground was evacuated Wednesday

(7/14) as a precautionary measure. The closure of this campground will

remain in effect until further notice.

Open trails include the Mist and John Muir trails from Yosemite Valley to

the top of Nevada Fall, the Yosemite Falls trail and access to the High

Sierra Camps from the Tioga Road.

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

Pass and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias /Wawona where smoke impacts

are not so great.

Park fire resources are committed to this fire as well as four handcrews, a

strike team of engines, a fire use team, and four helicopters from other

agencies. Approximately 250 personnel are dedicated to the Meadow Fire/

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 fire management team is

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.

U.S. Department of the Interior Yosemite National Park Media Relations Office contributed to this story.