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 1,300 acres and today´s hot, dry weather could promote further growth. Thunderstorms are expected on Thursday and Friday.
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. 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. While Yosemite National Park remains open through all park entrances, there are several closures in effect. Smoke in the valley should lift by late morning. The Glacier Point Road beyond Bridalveil Creek is closed today for visitor safety.
Additionally, several trails are closed to hiking for visitor safety. This includes: All trails and trail junctions entering the wilderness on the Glacier Point Road heading to Lower Merced Pass and the Buena Vista Lakes area. The Mono Meadow trailhead. The Panorama trail, between Glacier Point and Nevada Fall. The Four-Mile Trail. The trail between Bunnell Cascades and Little Yosemite Valley.
Six hikers were evacuated from these trails yesterday for their safety and escorted to their vehicles.
The Little Yosemite Valley backpackers´ campground has been evacuated today as a precautionary measure. There will be high smoke impacts in this area and on the trail to Half Dome.
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. The park has also ordered four handcrews, a strike team of engines, a fire use team, and three helicopters to contain the northern flank.
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.