Roadside Naturalist: Fire Danger Signs
September 15, 2012
Fire Danger Signs
August and September
As visitors enter Yosemite National Park, they are confronted with large signs that describe the current fire danger level. These signs are different at different entrances because the fire danger changes with the local conditions. At lower elevations, the temperatures are hotter and the fire danger more extreme. August and September are typically two of our driest months with average total rainfall during that period of less than one inch. This year, the conditions have been made worse by the below average snowfall we had last winter. No relief is expected as the summer drought period lasts into October. We will all have to continue to be very careful with fire in the park. At the Big Oak Flat Wilderness Center, backcountry campers are being discouraged from having campfires because of the increased risk. Campers in developed campsites should keep campfires small. Remember not to burn anything that doesn't fit in your fire ring. Most importantly, never leave a campfire unattended and please put it out completely, with water, before leaving.
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Did You Know?
In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.