YOSEMITE – Fire restrictions for Yosemite National Park went into effect on Tuesday, July 15. The fire order restricts the use of campfires in wilderness below 6,000 feet in elevation. However, campfires in designated campgrounds and picnic areas will still be allowed.
Yosemite National Park is implementing fire restrictions due to several years of exceptional drought conditions and high fire danger. The winters of 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 were all below average precipitation.
The Yosemite Region, along with all of California, is in the third year of drought. Conditions are comparable to the major drought of the 1970’s. Due to these conditions, the order is designed to reduce the chances of human caused fires in some of the park’s driest areas. Vegetation throughout the park is drier than at this time last year and increased care and caution are required to protect park resources and ensure visitor and staff safety.
Visitors coming to Yosemite National Park over the next several weeks should be aware that maintaining, attending, or building a fire below 6,000 feet in elevation, other than in one of the park’s designated campgrounds, is prohibited at this time. Visitors who smoke cigarettes in the park are urged to be cautious with their discarded cigarette butts and only place them in the appropriate trash receptacle. Additionally, smoking is only allowed in designated areas, inside a vehicle, or at campgrounds where fires are allowed.
The park will commonly experience lightning strikes throughout the summer. Many of these fail to ignite ground fuels, however, a fraction of them will spark vegetation. Each of these naturally caused fires will be assessed by park fire crews and determined which management action is the most beneficial. For more information about fire management in the park, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm
If further restrictions are necessary in the future, an announcement will be made at that time. The current restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.
For more information about fire restrictions in Yosemite, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/firerestrictions.htm