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Home National & State Parks Yosemite Yosemite National Park Remains Open; Rim Fire Burning in Hetch Hetchy Area

Yosemite National Park Remains Open; Rim Fire Burning in Hetch Hetchy Area

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While the Rim Fire has burned into Yosemite National Park, rangers said on Aug. 30, 2013, that the majority of the park remains unaffected by the fire and the park is open for visitors.

"Only 6 percent of Yosemite's land mass is on fire," said Kari Cobb, a Yosemite National Park spokesperson. "Yosemite Valley is fully open and fully operational and remains clear of smoke."

dc_10The Rim Fire, nearly 202,000 acres as of Friday morning, was burning in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite National Park as well as the wilderness area around White Wolf. The fire has burned roughly 45,000 acres of the park. Yosemite National Park's size is roughly 747,000 acres.

"The fire is burning in extremely rugged terrain areas of the park, and (firefighters) are back burning along Tioga Road," Cobb told OldWestNewWest.com Travel and History Magazine. "If it continues to move (south), crews will use Tioga Road as a barrier."

Fire is expected to continue its eastward spread farther into the west side of Yosemite National Park, east of Aspen Valley.

The northern portion of the park, including some areas along the Tioga Road, has some smoke. Conditions may change if winds shift. However, the following temporary closures and restrictions are in effect.

As of Friday, the Big Oak Flat Road (the continuation of Highway 120 inside Yosemite) is closed from Big Oak Flat Entrance Station to Crane Flat. The only access to Yosemite Valley is via Highway 140 from Merced or Highway 41 from Fresno (
view alternate routes).

All facilities and areas along the Big Oak Flat Road west of Crane Flat are closed, including Tuolumne and Merced Groves of Giant Sequoias (which are not in imminent danger), Hodgdon Meadow and Crane Flat Campgrounds, and the Big Oak Flat Information station. The Crane Flat gas station and store are open.

crane_flat_helibaseThe Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park) is closed from Crane Flat to Ten Lakes Trailhead (just west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area). The only access to the Tuolumne Meadows area is via Highway 120 from near Lee Vining. All facilities and areas along the Tioga Road west of Ten Lakes Trailhead are closed, including Tamarack Flat, White Wolf, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds, and White Wolf Lodge. Ten Lakes Trailhead parking is closed, but the Yosemite Creek Picnic Area is open.

The Hetch Hetchy Road, including all areas and facilities along the road, is closed.

The Old Coulterville Road is closed west and north of its junction with 1st Street (near Foresta). Old Coulterville Road in the community of Foresta is open. Residential access to Flying Spur Ranch is allowed.

Wilderness trail closures: The area west of the May Lake Road and May Lake Trail continuing to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at Glen Aulin and then north along the PCT to Bond Pass is closed. The park's boundary serves as the closure's northern and western edge extending south to the junction of the Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Road at Crane Flat.

The closure's boundary continues east from Crane Flat paralleling the Tioga Road a half mile to its south to the Tamarack Flat Campground Road. The closure follows the Tamarack Flat Campground Road to the campground then continues on the Tamarack Creek trail to the junction with the North Rim Trail. Then east along the North Rim trail to the Yosemite Creek trail north to the Tioga Road. The closure then follows the Tioga Road east to the May Lake Road. The trails serving as the eastern and southern boundary of the closed area remain open. May Lake High Sierra Camp, Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, and Porcupine Flat Campground are open.

"So, visitors who want to visit Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Valley need to modify their driving plans to come in through Highways 140 or 41, as 120 remains closed," Cobb said. "For those coming from the Sacramento or Bay area, it only adds about 30 minutes travel time coming in Highway 140 as opposed Highway 120."

Burnout operations continued overnight in the southeastern area of the Rim Fire. Crews continued construction of a fire line along 3N01 Road to stop fire spread to the north. Structure defense continues in Pinecrest, Mi-Wuk Village, Confidence, Cold Springs, and Hodgdon Meadow and Big Oak Flat in Yosemite National Park. Friday's plans are to continue the burnout in the Yosemite National Park south of Hetch Hetchy. If conditions allow, the Duckwall Mountain north to Fahey Meadow burnout will start. Air operations will be used to support all firefighting efforts, as needed.

Yosemite National Park has closed Tamarack Flat and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds, both located along the Tioga Road. White Wolf Campground and White Wolf Lodge remain closed. The Stanislaus National Forest has issued an area closure for the entire Groveland Ranger District and for the Mi-Wok Ranger District east of Highway 108.

Highway 120 remains closed from Buck Meadows to one and a half miles east of White Wolf. Highway 120 east/Tioga Road remains open from one and a half miles east of White Wolf to the Tioga Pass entrance. Cherry Lake Road is closed at Highway 120. Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road are also closed. Highway 120 from Ferretti Road to Buck Meadows remains open for local residents and businesses only.

Most of the Rim Fire remains in Stanislaus National Forest. More than 4,900 personnel are battling the blaze, which as of Friday morning was 32 percent contained. Full containment is not expected until Sept. 20 at the earliest. The fire started on Aug. 15 and the cause remains under investigation.

 
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