• Rainbow over Half Dome

    Yosemite

    National Park California

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  • Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire

    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »

  • Yosemite National Park is Open

    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Structural Fire

Firefighters enter building during training excercise

Firefighters entering building during training excercise

NPS Photo/Adrienne Freeman

Yosemite's Structural Fire Program

Although Yosemite is known for its prescribed fire and wildland fire use (managed lightning fires), it also has an excellent suppression program. In fact, suppression is the backbone to any active fire management program.

The suppression zone includes the western, lower elevations in the park. It is here that park communities must be protected from unwanted fire. This area also contains the heaviest concentration of forest debris and is at the greatest risk of unwanted fire. For these reasons, the suppression zone is also where the bulk of prescribed fires are completed. Fire managers re-create the natural role of fire under prescription conditions to reduce the risk of unwanted fire in these communities as well as for the ecological benefits. The suppression zone makes up roughly 17 percent of the park, though fire managers may choose to expand this area in hot, dry seasons as a further safety measure.

Additionally, all human-caused fires are suppressed. After all, the fire management program in Yosemite is designed to recreate the role of natural fire in the park. In Yosemite, the communities of El Portal, Foresta, Wawona, Crane Flat, Hodgdon Meadow, and Yosemite Valley are within the suppression zone. Crews staff both wildland and structure fire engines for these communities. Crew 7, a twenty-person hand crew, responds to fire suppression calls as well as working with prescribed and wildland fire use in the park. The helitack crew can be inserted by helirappel to fires less accessible by roads. Additionally, the park helicopter may also provide bucket drops to aid in suppression response.

As is the case with all major fire response organizations, agreements are in place for Yosemite to receive assistance from other agencies when a fire gets larger, more dangerous, or more complex than local resources can handle. The US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, Mariposa County, and others can assist when needed. In kind, Yosemite’s fire management resources are available to assist partners if the need arises. This interagency sharing of resources makes fire suppression response more effective throughout the area, the state, and ultimately, the nation.

Did You Know?

Upper Yosemite Fall with spring runoff

Yosemite Falls is fed mostly by snowmelt. Peak flow usually happens in late May, but by August, Yosemite Falls is often dry. It begins flowing again a few months later, after winter snows arrive.