Campfire ban ordered in areas of Yosemite amid wildfire threat

Campfires restricted in Yosemite wilderness areas below 6,000 feet

Officials said Wednesday that campfires are no longer permitted in wilderness areas below 6,000 feet at Yosemite National Park.

The restrictions were ordered as a result of several years of "exceptional drought conditions and high fire danger," the National Park Service said in a statement. Officials said rainfall during the last three winters has been below normal.

"The order is designed to reduce the chances of human-caused fires in some of the park’s driest areas," the agency said.

Campfires in picnic areas and designated campgrounds are still permitted. 

Last August, a hunter's illegal campfire in the Stanislaus National Forest sparked the massive Rim fire, which spread into Yosemite and charred an estimated 77,000 acres, or 120 square miles, within the northwest section of the park, officials said. 

The Rim fire was the third-largest on record in California and burned about 410 square miles of forest land. 

Experts have said the ecological effects of the wildfire probably will last for decades because massive trees were destroyed and habitats of rare species were severely altered.

In April, thousands of acres of parkland at Yosemite that had been closed since the blaze were reopened.


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