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Yosemite fire managers have announced the 2012 Fire Season began yesterday, Monday, May 21. Fire season officially begins when seasonal firefighting equipment and personnel are in place, prepared and ready to respond. Additionally, grasses and other vegetation at the lower elevations have begun to dry out. This year, vegetation is drying out faster than average due to the low snowpack the park received over the winter.
Firefighters will spend the week conducting their annual readiness reviews that demonstrate skills and proficiency for fighting fire. In addition, daily weather patterns, temperatures, and moisture levels are closely monitored, which aids in determining if vegetation is within prescription for burning.
In preparation for the fire season, the park has begun defensible space inspections throughout Yosemite's communities, including Aspen Valley, Hodgdon Meadows, Foresta, El Portal, Yosemite Valley, and Wawona. Residents and homeowners are urged to clear a defensible space around homes and other structures in an effort to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
Yosemite National Park officials are committed to ensuring sufficient fire crews will be onsite during all prescribed burn activity throughout the fire season. These resources will monitor fire behavior and weather, as well as support burnout and holding operations to ensure firefighter safety, public safety, and to prevent prescribed fire escape. With the official declaration of fire season, pile burning will be discontinued until further notice.
For more information about fire in Yosemite National Park, please visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm.