Derek Celedon/Getty Images
Stacey Leasca
Updated February 25, 2019

If you ever needed proof of Mother Nature’s beauty, this past weekend’s “firefall” at Yosemite National Park is most certainly it.

Alice Thieu / 500px/Getty Images

Each year — if we're lucky — for a few mere days in February, Horsetail Fall, located on the eastern edge of El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley, appears to be on fire. This occurs due to a confluence of events, including the perfect amount of snowfall in the area, along with a precise beam of light from the setting sun. While those factors are rare, when they do in fact come together it makes for one seriously stunning display.

"My reaction was complete amazement," Vaché Geyoghlian, a photographer from Fresno, California who saw the event firsthand, told CNN. "I was overwhelmed with excitement to finally get to see it in person and get some good shots of it too."

He added, "My friend and I got to that specific spot at about 2:00-2:30 p.m. and we were the first ones there. That didn't last long as the entire area filled with hundreds of people looking to witness/photograph the 'Firefall.'"

Truly, it’s remarkable that photographers and travelers were able to get such a strong Firefall showing. According to Scott Gediman, a park ranger and public affairs officer who has worked at Yosemite for 23 years, so many factors have to come together it’s a minor miracle it happens at all.

"There's always a lot of different factors," he told ScienceAlert. "It's a hit-and-miss kind of thing." He further noted that a tiny cloud or mere haze in the sky could have ruined the entire thing.

"The angle of the sun is really what's the key to it," Gediman added. Oh, and of course it’s all about timing as the entire event lasts about 10 minutes.

If you missed it this year, don’t worry, you may have a shot next year. Just keep an eye on the snow patterns, sun direction, and the weather for the next 365 days.

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