If you are traveling to Yosemite National Park for the Labor Day weekend, be prepared for smoky conditions and trail and road closures.
Separate fires have shut Glacier Point Road, California Highway 41 leading from Oakhurst to the southern entrance into the park, a campground and popular hiking trails.
Yosemite’s website warns visitors about smoke conditions in Yosemite Valley and beyond: “Expect poor air quality and limited visibility due to fires in Yosemite. Avoid strenuous exercise outdoors and remain indoors when possible.”
“Dense morning smoke impacts, clearing in the afternoon” was predicted for Yosemite Valley by the U.S. Forest Service’s wildfire air-quality program.
Hotels, restaurants, visitor centers and stores in Yosemite Valley are open. As of late Thursday night, Inciweb.gov reported these fire-related park closures.
--Empire Fire, 4,350 acres, a mile east of the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. Glacier Point Road and Bridalveil Creek Campground are closed because of the fire, which is about 55% contained. Bridalveil, Alder Creek, Ostrander, Mono Meadow and Turner Meadow trails are closed too.
--Railroad Fire, 2,130 acres, between Sugar Pine and Fish Camp along Highway 41 near the park’s south entrance. All businesses in Fish Camp, including Tenaya Lodge, are closed, as is the narrow-gauge Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad.
Highway 41 is closed from Fish Camp, Oakhurst or Fresno to the south entrance to Yosemite. Park visitors can use Highway 49 and then Highway 140 to enter the park instead.
--South Fork Fire, 7,705 acres, near the community of Wawona, also near the south side of the park. Trails around the south fork of the Merced River are closed, including the popular Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona Trailhead to the top of the falls, and Wawona Dome climbing routes.
For information and updates, go to Yosemite National Park’s website or call (209) 372-0200 (press 1 then 1).