Campers enthralled with natural features such as El Capitan and Half Dome will have to wait to enjoy them, since the heart of Yosemite National Park has closed to tourists. Firefighters are battling an intense forest fire.
According to Fox News, the Yosemite Valley will be closed for at least four days beginning at noon Wednesday. A stretch of State Route 41 will also be closed.
"We're asking people here tonight to leave tomorrow morning," said Scott Gediman, park spokesman. "And anyone that's incoming tomorrow will get an email or phone call stating that their reservation is canceled."
The Ferguson Fire has claimed more than 57 square miles of timber in steep terrain of the Sierra Nevada wilderness, just west of the park. Only 25 percent of the fire was contained by Tuesday.
The closure will have a direct and immediate impact on the park, for both tourists and employees. The park receives 4 million visitors annually. With the closure, park employees will suffer as well.
Mandatory evacuations have been placed in several communities as more than 3,300 firefighters are working to contain the fire. Sixteen helicopters are being used as well. On July 14, a firefighter was killed, along with six others injured.
Far to the north, a wildfire, which has consumed nearly four square miles, has forced the evacuation of French Gulch, a small community in the Shasta County area that dates to the Gold Rush.
Please pray for the firefighters in harm’s way as they battle the blaze. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.
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