Fire Spreading Near Yosemite Doubles in Size, Has Potential to Become a 'Major Threat' to the Park
The fire has read to road closures and a drop in air quality at the park.
The Ferguson Fire, which started on Friday, July 13, has spread across over 9,000 acres. While Yosemite National Park remains open, those looking to head to the park will need to avoid Highway 140, which has been closed between Midpines and El Portal. It's possible to use alternate access points, like Highway 41, however park representatives say visitors should expect larger crowds and lengthier wait times through the south entrance.
Firefighter Braden Varney died battling the fire on Saturday, according to representatives from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. No additional injuries have been reported.
The fire has been burning in an easterly direction on the west side of Merced, and is currently threatening some 108 structures in the area, though none have been destroyed. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
While the park and several of its nearby accommodations, including Yosemite View Lodge and Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort remain open, park representatives are warning that anyone sensitive to smoke avoid engaging in strenuous outdoor activities. Yosemite provides webcams and real-time alerts on its current air quality.
Weather in the area is expected to remain hot and dry for the next week. UCLA climate scientist Dr. Daniel Swain is warning that the fire is likely to continue burning for several days, with the potential to “become a major threat” to the park.