YOSEMITE — Citing “high fire danger” and “enhanced risk to the public, employees and first responders” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yosemite National Park is enacting park-wide fire restrictions “to reduce the threat of human-caused wildfires,” stated a press release issued late this week by park officials.
Yosemite begins its “phased” reopening today (June 5), allowing access to the Yosemite Wilderness to those with existing wilderness permit reservations and to those with an existing Half Dome permit.
“We are trying to reduce the threat of escaped campfires and other unwanted human caused wildfires in Yosemite,” said Kelly Singer, deputy fire management officer. “This year it is especially important to keep our firefighters healthy and reduce exposure as we approach the potential for an above normal fire season.”
By order of the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park and under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.13(c):
- The building, maintaining, or attending of a wood fire, charcoal fire, or twig stove is prohibited within Yosemite National Park at all elevations.
- Portable stoves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel, or propane are permitted, as are alcohol stoves (with and without a shutoff valve) including alcohol tablet/cube stoves.
- Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle, a building in which smoking is allowed, designated campgrounds, designated picnic areas, paved developed areas, and designated smoking areas.
- Campfires and cooking fires may be used in designated open campgrounds and open picnic areas in developed portions of the park in accordance with park regulations. (Campfires and cooking fires may still be used in residential areas in developed portions of the park in accordance with park regulations.)
“There are no administrative exemptions to this order,” a release issued by park officials stated. “Notice of closure will be posted and areas will be monitored to ensure compliance. This designation will remain in place until rescinded.”