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‘Firefall’ returns to Yosemite, and it’s a spectacular sight

Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park on Feb. 17.
Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park on Feb. 17. (Dakota Snider)

For a few days in mid-February, if the water is running and the sky is clear, dusk injects Horsetail Fall in Yosemite with the brilliance of molten lava in a phenomenon called “Firefall.”

The setting sun turns the waterfall an igneous gold and orange as it tumbles 1,500 feet down the eastern edge of El Capitan. Photographers flock to Yosemite National Park each year around the second week of February, hoping for a glimpse of “Firefall.”

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But if the falls aren’t running or clouds are shrouding the sunset, the waters won’t light up — and by the end of February, they likely won’t again for another year.

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