Wildfire near Yosemite closing hotels, campgrounds and visitor services

Yosemite Valley to Close on Wednesday

Yosemite Valley to Close on Wednesday

Yosemite National Park officials have announced that parts of the park will be closed as the almost 37,000 acre Ferguson Fire moves ever-eastward toward Highway 41 and the communities of Wawona and Yosemite West.

Park Superintendent Michael Reynolds told a community meeting that a 20-mile stretch of State Route 41 will close beginning Wednesday at noon. "Some facilities and services are closed or diminished".

Air quality in the area about 170 miles (275 kms) east of San Francisco was expected to be unhealthy to very unhealthy on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.

Mandatory evacuations are in place in several communities while others have been told to get ready to leave if necessary. Six firefighters have since been injured as almost 3,000 continue to fight the blaze, which is only six-percent contained.

The fire has forced evacuations and closed Highway 140.

Wildfire near Yosemite closing hotels, campgrounds and visitor services

Gediman suggested valley visitors divert to Tuolumne Meadows, on Yosemite's northern edge, or to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to the south.

Crews in OR are also battling a fire at Crater Lake National Park.

Though other parts of the park remain open as the tourist season peaks, Yosemite Valley is where most visitors flock to see its impressive waterfalls and granite giants Half Dome and El Capitan. Fire crews continued to build containment lines.

Officials said 500 firefighters and numerous helicopters were working to suppress the blaze, the Statesman Journal reports.

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