When the Ferguson Fire put a blanket of smoke over Yosemite National Park, officials were forces to close most of the park to visitors in lieu of health issues. When the fire grew quickly and moved into the park, more than a third of the park was closed and visitors were evacuated from the area. It’s been the longest closure of the park since 1997, but it’s almost over.
Park officials have announced they will reopen the Yosemite Valley to visitors, including the Mariposa Grove, on Tuesday, August 14th at 9 am.
The Ferguson Fire is now 96,457 acres with 86% containment and 1,020 personnel that are currently engaged on the fire which include 69 engines, 6 water tenders, 5 helicopters, 16 crews, 2 masticator and 14 dozers. There have been 2 fatalities and 19 injuries to date. 10 structures have been destroyed.
While there are still are still small portions of the park that remain closed, much of the tourist friendly areas are ready for public consumption once again. The closures have created a tough situation for the popular National Park, who have recently received budget cuts and rely on the revenue of the visitors during the popular summer months to provide yearly resources for the park.
Here is the full press release from Yosemite National Park:
Yosemite Valley to Reopen to Visitors on Tuesday, August 14th, at 9:00 a.m.
Yosemite National Park is pleased to announce that Yosemite Valley will reopen to visitors on Tuesday, August 14th, at 9:00 a.m. Yosemite Valley has been closed to visitors since Wednesday, July 25th, due to impacts from the Ferguson Fire. Visitors can access Yosemite Valley from the El Portal Road (Highway 140), the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), or the Tioga Road (Highway 120).
The Wawona Road (Highway 41) will remain closed from Wawona to Yosemite Valley for at least another week due to ongoing fire activity and firefighter operations. Park visitors should be aware that there is still active fire and smoke on the roads and people should drive with extreme caution. Delays on the roads are possible due to fire activity and ongoing firefighter operations. There will be limited hours and limited visitor services at park facilities as the park returns to normal operations.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will reopen to the public on Monday, August 13th, at 9:00 a.m. Visitors can access the Mariposa Grove via the South Entrance (Highway 41) and park in the newly constructed parking area. The free shuttle buses to the Mariposa Grove will begin at 9:00 am. and take visitors to the newly restored Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Mariposa Grove reopened to visitors on June 14th, after a 3 year restoration project conducted in partnership with Yosemite Conservancy. Visitors will be able to travel to the Wawona area via the South Entrance (Highway 41). However, there is no access to Yosemite Valley via HIghway 41.
The Glacier Point Road remains closed and is expected to open when the Wawona Road (Highway 41) reopens. The Hetch Hetchy Area remains closed due to smoke impacts but is expected to reopen soon.
“We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the firefighters and , Incident command teams for their great efforts in suppressing the Ferguson Fire. We’d also like to express our gratitude and thanks to our gateway communites who tirelessly helped visitors to the area while they were being impacted by the fire”, stated Michael Reynolds, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “This is truly a historic and unprecedented event in park history, and we are thrilled to welcome back visitors to Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove.”
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.
For the latest information on the Ferguson Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/.
For updated maps of the Ferguson Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/maps/5927/.