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If you are planning to visit Yosemite soon, don't!


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The wildfire nearby has filled Yosemite Valley with smoke. The air quality is awful, and visibility is diminished so much that you can't see the beautiful views. I don't know why they are keeping the park open, or why people are still going. We were there last week and had to leave early. The fire has grown a lot since then, and has gotten closer to the park. We were hiking in Zion National Park yesterday and got chatting with a family about it. A guy stopped to listen and I could tell I just ruined his day. His family was planning to visit and they had no idea about the fire! He decided right then to make other plans. So I decided to post a warning in case anyone here was planning on going. At the very least, check for updates before you go. It is a beautiful place, and I'm so glad we arrived when we did because we got to see the beauty before the smoke rolled in.

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7 hours ago, Happy Camper said:

The wildfire nearby has filled Yosemite Valley with smoke. The air quality is awful, and visibility is diminished so much that you can't see the beautiful views. I don't know why they are keeping the park open, or why people are still going. We were there last week and had to leave early. The fire has grown a lot since then, and has gotten closer to the park. We were hiking in Zion National Park yesterday and got chatting with a family about it. A guy stopped to listen and I could tell I just ruined his day. His family was planning to visit and they had no idea about the fire! He decided right then to make other plans. So I decided to post a warning in case anyone here was planning on going. At the very least, check for updates before you go. It is a beautiful place, and I'm so glad we arrived when we did because we got to see the beauty before the smoke rolled in.

We live relatively near the park, and it's just heartbreaking.   They're actually closing the valley as of noon tomorrow.  That's hard to wrap my brain around.  I feel *so bad* for people coming from far away for whom this is probably their only chance to see the park. 

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On 7/24/2018 at 11:04 PM, shinyhappypeople said:

We live relatively near the park, and it's just heartbreaking.   They're actually closing the valley as of noon tomorrow.  That's hard to wrap my brain around.  I feel *so bad* for people coming from far away for whom this is probably their only chance to see the park. 

We were SO close to being in this category. We traveled across the country (stopping at lots of other great places, but still) to go there. While we visited Yellowstone, we learned that wildfires help rejuvenate the land by burning off the older trees so the younger ones can get the sunlight they need to thrive, but it still stinks if you have made plans/spent money to travel there only to find the place filled with smoke.

I remember at least one other post about planning a cross country trip, and I figured it was worth it to post a warning to other families that might not have heard about it. I can't imagine just showing up and learning about it!

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we went last year for the 2nd time - just as the fires were barely starting.

considering how unsanitary the restrooms were (*piles* of used TP on the FLOOR in each stall, entire feces on the floor) in the valley - AND glacier point, - it wasn't just a case of it needs to be cleaned, this was deliberate by many many people.  

we'll never go again. tioga pass (opened the day before we got there) was very nice, but didn't make up for it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From Sierra News Online https://sierranewsonline.com/ferguson-fire-now-largest-in-sierra-nf-history-highways-120-140-reopen/

“MARIPOSA COUNTY – The Ferguson Fire, estimated at 94,331 acres, is now the largest fire in the history of the Sierra National Forest, say officials, and is being managed as a full suppression fire. The fire is 43 percent contained. No growth in acreage was shown overnight.

The estimated date for full containment is Aug. 15.

...

There have been 12 firefighter injuries reported, and numerous instances of heat exhaustion-type symptoms. There have been two fatalities on the fire; HFEO Braden Varney was killed in a dozer rollover accident on July 14, and Brian Hughes, Arrowhead Hotshot Captain, lost his life on July 29 when he was struck by a tree during a firing operation.

Yosemite National Park

Officials have announced that the closure of some portions of Yosemite National Park will be extended indefinitely. The closure includes Hetch Hetchy. When the park does open these areas, limited visitor services will be available inside Yosemite Valley, including campgrounds, lodging, and food service operations.

Yosemite Valley has been closed since July 25 due to smoke impacts and for firefighting operations along El Portal Road and the Wawona Road.

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the Wawona Road (Highway 41) from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park to Tunnel View will remain closed until further notice.

The Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 West) to Crane Flat is closed. Tioga Road (Highway 120 East) from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass, remains open to all visitors and vehicles. All trails and campgrounds along Tioga Road, including the Tuolumne Meadows Campground remain open. All visitor services along Tioga Road, including the High Sierra Camps and visitor services near Tuolumne Meadows, remain open.

Non-essential personnel in Yosemite Valley were evacuated Friday due to hazardous road conditions, smoke and a loss of power, say park officials. Yosemite Valley has been closed to the public since July 25, however Yosemite National Park remains open on the east side out of Lee Vining, and Tioga Pass Road (Highway 120 East) provides access to the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, the Pacific Crest and John Muir trails.

Yosemite National Park is working closely with the Incident Management Team and continues to assess park conditions daily.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose and on the Yosemite National Park Facebook page.”

From NASA https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2018/californias-mendocino-complex-of-fires-now-largest-in-states-history

“NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the fires and smoke blowing from them on August 06, 2018 with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument. Actively burning areas (hot spots), detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red. Each hot spot is an area where the thermal detectors on the MODIS instrument recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire. NASA image courtesy of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) project. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from Inciweb and CAL Fire.”

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We had planned to go visit friends in Mammoth, and then on to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings later this month, but I cancelled our 10 day vacation yesterday. Even if things are open, the air quality is just too bad. ?

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I grew up going to Yosemite every few years. My kids have been twice, both times in wintery weather (once near Easter in March, once just before Christmas). That is a beautiful and magical time to be there and not crowded at all. Maybe it will become more popular as summer in the west has truly become fire season on a regular basis.

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