via Wikimedia Commons/Kari Greer, US Forest Servuce

Forest fires are increasingly becoming an issue across California, and one that sprung up this past summer, the Ferguson Fire, actually closed parts of one of California’s most popular destinations. The fire, which started around July 13th at about 8:30 pm, eventually began ripping through the Stanislaus and Sierra National Forests, inching closer and closer to Yosemite National Park. On July 24th, it was declared that parts of Yosemite would close at noon the following day, kicking off several weeks of frustrating closures across the park, especially in and around the popular Yosemite Valley. But now, after more than two weeks, the park is starting to open again. Just in time for “end-of-summer” trips, no less!

via Wikimedia Commons/US Forest Service
via Wikimedia Commons/US Forest Service Team Rubicon

Monday morning, the Mariposa Grove (a stand of stunning sequoia trees) was re-opened and starting on Tuesday, some (but not all!) roads into the Valley will start allowing visitors again. These re-opened routes will include El Portal Road (California 140) and Big Oak Flat Road (California 120) from the west and Tioga Road (California 120) from the east.

via Wikimedia Commons/US Forest Service

Of course, it’ll be a while before Yosemite is back to its complete former glory, especially considering that the Ferguson Fire is still burning. In the park, facilities and some programs and services will take time to re-open or will operate on limited hours. And, of course, there’s still smoke and burned-out patches of land. More than 150 square miles of land has been burned already, and the fire is about 86% contained. Firefighters have been working tirelessly to suppress the blaze.

via Wikimedia Commons/Eric Polk
via Wikimedia Commons/Kevin R. Foote
via Wikimedia Commons/King of Hearts

The list of areas that are still closed and that should be avoided include the California 41/Wawona Road route into the park, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (closed due to smoke) and the popular Glacier Point Road (which will re-open when California 41 is fully opened). The hope is that California 41 will be open within another week, but when dealing with a wildfire, it’s hard to predict. And, as always, exercise extreme caution, even when driving on opened roads. Flare-ups can happen, and this fire has already killed two firefighters and injured eleven more people.

More stories in Yosemite and beyond…

Concerned citizen launches petition to stop a Starbucks from going into Yosemite National Park

Yosemite: America’s most haunted National Park

These are the coolest parking spots in America


Header image via Wikimedia Commons/Kari Greer, US Forest Service




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