Yosemite Valley set to reopen after closure due to Ferguson Fire

Yosemite National Park’s history of wildfires

The Ferguson wildfire has forced thousands to evacuate Yosemite, but this isn't the first time a wildfire has ravaged Yosemite.
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The Ferguson wildfire has forced thousands to evacuate Yosemite, but this isn't the first time a wildfire has ravaged Yosemite.

Yosemite Valley will reopen to the public at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the national park service announced.

Also, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will reopen at 9 a.m. Monday, Yosemite announced Friday.

Yosemite Valley has been closed to visitors since July 25 due to impacts from the Ferguson Fire.

Visitors will be able to access Yosemite Valley from El Portal Road (Highway 140), Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), or Tioga Road (Highway 120). Wawona Road (Highway 41) will remain closed from Wawona to Yosemite Valley for at least another week due to ongoing fire activity and firefighter operations.

The fire had burned more than 95,500 acres and was 80 percent contained as of Friday afternoon.

Firefighters on Friday were working to keep the fire out of Yosemite Valley by securing an area between El Portal Road and Wawona Road, which was expected to take two to three days.

Yosemite officials advised motorists to drive with extreme caution as there is still active fire and smoke in the area, and that road delays are possible.

Park facilities and visitor services will be available for limited hours as the park returns to normal operations.

Visitors can access the Mariposa Grove via the park’s south entrance (Highway 41). The free shuttle buses to the Mariposa Grove will begin at 9 a.m. and take visitors to the grove, which reopened to visitors on June 14 after a three-year restoration project.

Planners and engineers figured out a way to save a giant sequoia root while also providing a needed culvert and roadway in Yosemite National Park's Mariposa Grove.

Visitors are also able to access the Wawona area via Highway 41.

Glacier Point Road remains closed and is expected to open when the Wawona Road (Highway 41) reopens. The Hetch Hetchy area remains closed due to smoke impacts but is expected to reopen soon.

“We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the firefighters and incident command teams for their great efforts in suppressing the Ferguson Fire,” Yosemite’s Superintendent Michael Reynolds said. “We’d also like to express our gratitude and thanks to our gateway communities who tirelessly helped visitors to the area while they were being impacted by the fire. This is truly a historic and unprecedented event in park history, and we are thrilled to welcome back visitors to Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove.”

Two firefighters were killed fighting the fire: Hotshot Capt. Brian Hughes and bulldozer operator Braden Varney.

Hundreds of firefighters, family and friends attended a memorial in Fresno on Saturday for Arrowhead Interagency Hotshot Crew captain Brian Hughes, who was killed by a falling tree at the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park on July 29.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite, call 209-372-0200, and press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website and Facebook page.

Updated information about the fire is available on InciWeb.

Carmen George: 559-441-6386, @CarmenGeorge
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