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Smoky Skies Over Yosemite

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Yosemite, CA — If you see smoke in the air over Yosemite National Park in the next couple of weeks, there is no need for alarm, it is a planned burn.

A prescribed burn will take place mid to late March in the Hetch Hetchy area, near the O’Shaughnessy Dam, weather permitting. 57 acres will be burned over approximately one to two days, including a few additional days to patrol and monitor the site.

Park Officials say the current drought makes this March an ideal burning season. The burn area is surrounded by the Hetch Hetchy Road and previously burned out areas affected by the Rim Fire.

Park Ranger Kari Cobb says this is extra protection after the fire for structures in the area. “Now we have an opportunity to burn at very cool levels and in a very controlled environment right around buildings. So if something like that happens again, we don’t have to worry about the structures nearly as much as we did during the Rim Fire.”

The Hetch Hetchy Road will remain open during the burn, but there will be traffic control during roadside operations. Visitors to the area are urged to drive with caution, as firefighters, fire equipment, smoke and debris will be a factor. The Hetch Hetchy campground will close for one or two days during the operation. However, the Hodgdon Meadow Campground will remain open during the burn.

Fire crews from Yosemite National Park, other national parks, and the U.S. Forest Service will be conducting the burn.