Wildfire Drives Tourists From Yosemite, Takes Local Economy With It

30 July, 2018, 06:16 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Map of the Ferguson Fire

Along the southern perimeter of the fire, firefighters continued to build a wider containment buffer.

During the busy summer season, people are being asked to evacuate Yosemite National Park.

To the north, a wildfire in the San Francisco Bay Area has burned at least two homes in Clayton.

A Yosemite National Park official says at least a thousand campground and hotel reservations will be canceled after authorities made a decision to close Yosemite Valley to keep a growing forest fire at bay.

Vivek Vishal, who came to the park with his family from Texas, had planned to stay until Thursday, but was forced to change course as the fire came closer. Parts of the park, including Yosemite Valley, will close Wednesday as firefighters work to stop the blaze.

That fire, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Sacramento, had blackened 20,000 acres (8,100 hectares) as of Thursday, three times its size a day earlier.

The few remaining campers in Yosemite Valley are packing up tents and other gear before a closure goes into effect to clear the area for firefighters battling a wildfire near Yosemite National Park.

Matt Teague, an acting district superintendent for state parks, drove an hour and half in the middle of the night to help employees of the park and volunteers rescue historic paintings, prints and other artifacts from the museum housed in the 1861 courthouse.

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"Park visitors now staying in park campgrounds and lodging facilities are asked to be out of these areas by noon tomorrow".

These area are now under a mandatory evacuation include: El Portal Trailer Court, Incline Rd from Clearing House to the last BLM campground, Jerseydale/ Mariposa Pines, Cedar Lodge/ Indian Flat Campground, Savage's Trading Post, Sweetwater Ridge, El Portal Trailer Court, Rancheria Flat - Government Housing, Old El Portal, Yosemite View Lodge, Foresta, Yosemite West, Old Yosemite Road.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Wednesday that the blaze has burned 60 square miles (155 square kilometers). The closure was heartbreaking for travelers, many of whom mapped out their trips months in advance to hike and climb amid the spectacular views of cascading waterfalls and sheer rock faces. The fire was 25 percent contained Tuesday.

The closure through at least Sunday led to at least 1,000 campground and hotel bookings being canceled, park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

In the state's far north, a almost 4-square-mile (10-square-kilometer) wildfire has forced the evacuation of French Gulch, a small Shasta County community that dates to the Gold Rush.

Campsites and lodges emptied out after disappointed tourists were ordered to leave the heart of Yosemite by noon Wednesday amid the threat of out-of-control wildfires in the nearby area.

That blaze had forced 3,200 people to evacuate in resort communities including Idyllwild, Mountain Center and Lake Hemet as it destroyed five structures and threatened 2,100 homes, the agency said.


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