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.
* Glacier Point Road beyond Bridalveil Creek Campground
* 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.