Yosemite National Park has just announced the closure of many sections of the park due to the ongoing impact of the Ferguson Fire.
The US National Park Service (NPS) announced the closure on Tuesday, asking visitors to evacuate the park by noon on Wednesday, 25 July. The areas of Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa and Merced Grove will be closed until 29 July due to this wildfire.
Over 2,000 disappointed tourists and campers were asked to leave campsites and lodges inside the park. Thousands of other bookings during the week will be cancelled. This is being done to allow firefighters clear access to fight the Ferguson Fire that is currently blazing through Sierra Nevada just west of the park.
Ferguson Fire Blazes Through Yosemite National Park
The park had previously alerted visitors of of smoky conditions, poor air quality and poor visibility inside the park. Officials had also assured visitors that the park itself was under imminent danger from the fire.
#FergusonFire is having a substantial impact on air quality in Yosemite. See smoke outlook each day at https://t.co/2aga9LwviK and limit activities based on the Air Quality Index: https://t.co/N3xSFo3ezC pic.twitter.com/W84NAza10k
— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) July 24, 2018
However, they decided to close down the park as a precautionary measure. It also allows firefighters to deal with the Ferguson Fire, and perform protective measures, such as burning the brush along the roads, without having to deal with park visitors.
This closure comes during one of the busiest months for Yosemite National Park, which welcomes well over 4 million visitors each year. The park itself hasn’t been close in almost 30 years. Yosemite National Park is also said to be one of the many American national parks found to have poor air quality.
Some 3,000 firefighters, along with 16 helicopters, are battling the Ferguson Fire which covered 148 square kilometers. At least six firefighters have been injured, and one person was killed on 14 July. As of Wednesday, only about 26 percent of the wildfire had been contained.