Sections of Yosemite National Park in California have final reopened after recent wildfires throughout the region forced its first complete closure in 28 years.
These were some of the worst wildfires ever seen in California, and the Yosemite Valley was closed to visitors on 25 July. However, the National Parks Service (NPS) has now announced that visitors can once again travel into the popular Yosemite National Park.
Among the reopened areas are the Wawona Road, a.k.a. Highway 41, which leads to the popular Tunnel View; the El Portal Road (Highway 140); the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), and the Tioga Road (Highway 120). The famous Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias has also been reopened to the public after a three-year restoration. However, the Glacier Point Road remains closed due to ongoing fire operations.
Yosemite National Park reopens after Ferguson Fire
Over 3,000 firefighters fought the nearly 97,000-acre Ferguson fire that blazed in the nearby Sierra National Forest. Roads in the Yosemite Valley were closed for 20 days to provide better access to emergency workers. However, it started reopening on 14 Aug. The fire is now fully contained.
This closing came at the busiest time of the year for Yosemite National Park. During this period, between 15,000 and 18,000 people visit each day. This caused the park to lose almost $3 million in admission fees. However, unlike the last closure in January 1997 due to massive flooding, much of the park remains undamaged.
However, visitors should not walk in recently burnt areas due to “hot spots, falling trees or other hazards”. Make sure to check road and weather conditions before travel. You can check for updates at the park’s official website (at www.nps.gov/yose) and also on the Yosemite National Park Facebook page.