Even though the Ferguson fire isn’t burning inside Yosemite National Park, it’s keeping popular parts of the park shut through Sunday. Unhealthful air and ongoing firefighting operations have closed Yosemite Valley, the Wawona area, two groves of giant sequoia trees, and Hetch Hetchy, an announcement said Tuesday.
The east-west route in the park — Big Oak Flat Road, or California 120 West, to Crane Flat and Tioga Road, or California 120 East — remains open. Visitors are warned to beware of smoky conditions while driving.
Park officials earlier said travelers with reservations for lodgings in closed areas — including Yosemite Lodge and the Majestic Yosemite Hotel — will be notified and either rebooked or given a refund. Recreation.gov was giving refunds to campers with reservations at affected campgrounds.
Travelers planning on visiting the park this week may want to enter at Tioga Pass on the eastern side. Campgrounds and hiking trails along Tioga Road and at Tuolumne Meadows remain open. The High Sierra Camps and other back country destinations also are open.
The park closed the Valley and other areas on July 25, forcing visitors to leave quickly. Areas were expecting to reopen this coming Friday, but those plans were pushed back Tuesday because of bad air quality and the need to support firefighters at areas inside the park, the announcement said.
Fire crews are stationed at Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park in Ahwahnee, Calif., and, inside the park at Badger Pass and Drew Meadow. The fire has grown to more than 57,000 acres and is 33% contained.
The fire started July 13 in Sierra National Forest on the southwest border with Yosemite. It has grown to 57,000 acres and is 33% contained. It has claimed the lives of two firefighters.
Park officials are working with firefighting agencies to assess conditions each day.