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Wildland Fire Use Projects Continue to Burn

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Date: July 27, 2006
Contact: Media Relations Office, 209/372-0529

Fire officials are continuing to monitor several lightening-caused fires in Yosemite National Park. Approximately nine fires are currently considered active in areas around the park, consisting of about 100 total acres. These fires are currently being allowed to spread naturally, although selected fires are being confined using natural barriers and minimum impact fireline construction.

For public safety the Laurel Lakes basin is currently closed. This closure includes the Miguel Meadow to Laurel Lake Trail. Additionally, hikers may encounter active fire, firefighters, and equipment along the historic Great Sierra Wagon Road (between White Wolf and Aspen Valley). Visitors to the area are asked to use caution while traveling in these areas. All other park areas are open with no restrictions.

Visitors and residents in the areas surrounding the fires may see increased smoke effects in the coming weeks. The National Park Service is committed to reducing smoke impacts for visitors and residents and is making every effort to provide current information so visitors may plan their stay accordingly.

Yosemite uses natural (wildland fire use) and prescribed fires to help maintain, or restore, the health of the forest as well as to reduce the risk of more destructive, smokier, and costlier fires in the future. Natural lightning strike fires (like those currently burning) provide park managers the opportunity to bring back fire as a natural process in the wilderness areas of Yosemite National Park.

Prior to fire suppression, it is estimated that historically, on average, 16,000 of Yosemite?s 747,000 acres may have burned under natural conditions each year.

For more information, please contact the Fire Information Office at 209/372-0491 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/yose/fire for information about fire and smoke effects.

Did You Know?

Merced River Gorge

Descending from Yosemite Valley, the Merced River becomes a continuous cascade in a narrow gorge littered by massive boulders. Dropping 2,000 feet in 14 miles, canyon walls rise steeply from the river and have many seasonal waterfalls cascading down to the river.