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NPS photo showing piles of wood near the roadway at El Capitan Cross with El Capitan in the background.

Yosemite Seasonal Prescribed Burns

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK–With the prediction of slight rain over the weekend, Yosemite National Park Fire Managers are preparing to conduct prescribed burning operations along Southside Drive in Yosemite Valley next week. There are multiple piles located near El Capitan Crossover that, if conditions allow, burning may occur there first.

Depending on continued permissible conditions, burning may extend from El Cap Crossover toward Sentinel Beach (units 11 and 16). Please reference the map for detailed information. If burning operations do extend into those units, a one lane traffic closure may occur as well as a temporary trail closure on the Yosemite Valley Loop in that area. Burning operations will be evaluated and monitored to ensure a high potential of success and safety.


With the arrival of the fall (autumn) season, Yosemite National Park is awaiting cooler temperatures and precipitation in the forecast. When these favorable conditions are predicted, fire managers plan to build on the 50+ years legacy of prescribed burning by conducting several projects in Yosemite Valley, Crane Flat, and Studhorse (Wawona) areas, as conditions allow. In addition, pile burning is also planned in several other locations throughout the park.

Prescribed burning is an efficient and effective way to mitigate the risk of large wildfires by decreasing excessive fuel build-up which reduces fire intensity and protects infrastructure and natural resources. These projects also improve wildlife habitats, encourage sprouting of seedling sequoia trees, restore cultural burning practices, mitigate future smoke impacts, and create more drought and fire resilient forests.

Each burn unit has been strategically defined within the park and includes weather parameters and firing/burning patterns to ensure objectives for each unit will have a high potential for success. Yosemite fire and resource management personnel will monitor all prescribed burns to evaluate achievement of goals and help guide future prescriptions.

Smoke will be present during and after prescribed burning operations. Fire managers work closely with park staff and the local air pollution control districts to time the prescribed burns to coincide with favorable weather and smoke dispersion conditions. Smoke impacts are always a consideration in the decision to begin any prescribed burning operation. Burning will only be conducted under favorable dispersal conditions.

View current air quality conditions throughout Yosemite National Park and the region at https://fire.airnow.gov/

Additional information can be found on the Yosemite Fire News page.

Thank you in advance for driving carefully and watching for firefighters and equipment near the road.


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