YOSEMITE – Yosemite fire managers have announced that the 2014 Fire Season began on Monday, May 19. Fire season officially begins when seasonal firefighting equipment and personnel are in place, prepared and ready to respond.
Grasses and other vegetation at the lower elevations have begun to dry out. This year, vegetation is drying out faster than average due to the low snowpack the park received over the last three winter seasons, making for fire danger above average for this time of year.
The park is currently transitioning to fire season preparedness and fire resources will be available seven days per week for suppression efforts within the park. Fire resources inside the park include fire management officials, four Type 3 wildland engines, one helicopter and one hand crew.
In preparation for the fire season, the park will begin defensible space inspections throughout Yosemite’s communities, including Aspen Valley, Hodgdon Meadows, Foresta, El Portal, Yosemite Valley and Wawona starting on Monday, June 9. Residents and homeowners are urged to clear a defensible space of 100 feet or to property lines around homes and other structures in an effort to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
With the official declaration of fire season, pile burning will be discontinued throughout the park until further notice.
The fire potential is elevated statewide and has moved peak fire season conditions earlier than predicted. Yosemite National Park urges local residents and visitors to “Please be Fire Safe,” when residing and visiting the park and other public lands. Special attention should be given when departing campgrounds, backcountry camping sites and picnic areas to make sure all campfires have been appropriately doused with water.
For more information about fire in Yosemite National Park, please visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm