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Yosemite area fire (Aug - Sep 2013)

Yosemite area fire (Aug - Sep 2013)

Old Aug 27, 13, 7:40 pm
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Yosemite area fire (Aug - Sep 2013)

I have been staying in Yosemite Valley for three nights, tonight is my last night. For the first two nights and through this morning, there was no visible effect of the fire on either clarity or services. However, this afternoon, I noticed the first bits of haze in the Valley.

Today I drove up to Tioga pass, covering route 120 road from Crane Flat to the Tioga Pass entrance gate (route 120 is closed going west from Crane Flat). Outbound in the morning, the plume of smoke was visible in the distance. Returning in the afternoon, although I couldn't see actual flames, it was clear that the fire was burning maybe two ridges north of route 120 (the Tioga Pass road); i.e., one front had advanced southward. I could hear aircraft and helicopters and passed a few hotshot transports.

There is still no danger at all in the valley but it is quite clear the fire is advancing south. Despite what tourist facilities may say, I wonder if it is getting to be time to consider postponing Yosemite visits until the fire is contained.
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Old Aug 28, 13, 5:17 pm
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As of noon today, Tioga pass from Crane flat eastwards is now closed for some miles. The only way to reach the Tolumne meadows area is from US395. So there is no easy way for Valley visitors to reach the higher portions of the park, including Olmstead view.

I left this morning, the air was clearer over the Valley than it was yesterday afternoon, but still not perfect.

I have a pic of the fire taken yesterday afternoon from the Tioga pass road about 7 miles east of Crane Flat, at that point the base of the fire was visible.

The reason the road to Crane Flat from the Valley, which dead ends at route 120, is being kept open despite not being able to go either way on route 120 is because it is where the nearest gas station to the Valley is located. Gas is not sold in the Valley.

Last edited by RichardInSF; Aug 28, 13 at 5:23 pm
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Old Aug 29, 13, 9:03 am
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over the past weekend I was in Lake Tahoe area. The smoke from the fire blew over the lake causing haze and air quality issues. On Saturday the winds seemed to have changed because the lake cleared out (at least on the North side).

Reno ---the smoke was much worse. It was like a fog over the city this you can barely see the city tall buildings from the highways.
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Old Sep 1, 13, 9:45 am
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As of Sept 1, the wind has shifted and heavy smoke is now clogging the previously unaffected Yosemite Valley. Visitors report being unable to even see the cliff walls from Valley campsites. A friend who was camped clear up on the Glacier Point Road in the Bridalveil Creek Campground until yesterday pulled up stakes and headed to the coast to finish his family's vacation because of heavy smoke.

Several FT users have reported plans to visit Yosemite this fall and several of us have recommended a stop at Yosemite for international visitors to California. At this point, I have to change my recommendation and suggest making alternate plans. The Tioga Pass Highway is closed, Yosemite Valley is obscured with smoke and even the higher Glacier Point Road is unpleasantly smokey. The fire is expected to continue to burn until the autumn storms start up.

For visitors to California who wish to see the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I would suggest a visit to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to the south.
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Old Sep 1, 13, 10:06 am
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I had plans to be there in a little over a week with a possible visit to Lake Tahoe..... I will probably stay on the coast instead.
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Old Sep 1, 13, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by RTW1 View Post
I had plans to be there in a little over a week with a possible visit to Lake Tahoe..... I will probably stay on the coast instead.
Good choice. This time of year is very nice to spend some extra days along the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur and the Monterey area. The weather is still pleasantly warm, school is back in session, family vacations are pretty much ended and popular coastal areas are less crowded. As soon as the current holiday weekend is over, I will be headed up to the North Coast myself for a few days of photography.

Enjoy your visit to California.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 10:15 pm
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As of the evening of Tuesday, September 3, the fire is 80% contained. No closed roads have yet been re-opened, however.
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Old Sep 4, 13, 12:13 am
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Much of the smoke cleared out of Yosemite Valley today but it is purely dependent on wind direction. The smoke is blowing up toward Tahoe and Reno for now but if the wind shifts around again, it will be right back in Yosemite Valley. We actually caught a break down in the SJ Valley and air quality has been good for a couple of days. That too could change at any time.
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Old Sep 7, 13, 12:57 pm
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News today, confirmed on the NPS Yosemite website, is that Big Oak Flat Road is open from the Route 120 entrance of the park to Yosemite Valley. The Tioga Road portion of Route 120 remains closed from Crane Flat to White Wolf.

Also in the news is that Forest Service authorities are attributing the fire, now the third largest in California history, to an illegal campfire started by a hunter in Stanislaus National Forest. The name of the suspect has not been released.

An open plea to all park visitors: Please obey fire restrictions! I know that having a roaring campfire is part of the traditional image of camping, but here in California (and in other parts of the Western US) dry weather conditions at times of the year can make it very dangerous. No-fire rules are often in effect. They are not the effort of humorless government bureaucrats to stamp out your fun; the rules are there for everyone's safety and the preservation of the beautiful wilderness areas you and I like to visit.
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Old Sep 14, 13, 2:21 pm
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The California Department of Transportation offers current roads information, including the Quickmap - you can zoom in or out, increase granularity by specifying what you want to see.

Once you see the roads you wish to check, you can enter the highway number into the "To check conditions, enter highway #___" box.

Today, it reveals, for example:

This highway information is the latest reported as of Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 13:26 .

SR 120
[IN THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA AREA & SIERRA NEVADA]
NO TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS ARE REPORTED FOR THIS AREA.

[YOSEMITE NAT'L PARK]
NO TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS ARE REPORTED FOR THIS AREA.

FOR YOSEMITE NAT'L PARK ROAD INFORMATION CALL 209-372-0200

Last edited by JDiver; Sep 14, 13 at 2:27 pm
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Old Sep 15, 13, 2:49 pm
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As of Saturday, September 14, the Tioga Pass Road has been reopened to through traffic. It is now possible to cross the mountain range via Highway 120 but stopping on the side of the road is prohibited for most of the distance due to the continuing fire and firefighting effort. Smoke and ash are still a significant problem.
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