Thursday, October 06, 2005

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park News Release
October 5, 2005
For Immediate Release

Wapama Fire Grows in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park experienced widespread lightning activity over the weeks of September 21 and 26, 2005. Currently, three lightning-caused fires are burning in the park. One of these fires, the Wapama Fire located just north of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, experienced substantial growth over the weekend. The fire is currently 500 acres and has the potential for further spread to the northeast.

The Wapama Fire is being managed as a wildland fire for resource benefit. Wildland Fire Use (WFU) projects are allowed to burn and spread naturally as long as they do not threaten people or property. Fire is a natural ecological process that plays an important role in shaping and restoring the park's ecosystems.

A combination of containment actions (utilizing an existing trail, natural barriers, and constructed fireline) are being taken on the western flank of the fire to prevent spread into the suppression zone. These tactics will also reduce potential smoke impacts to nearby communities. Management objectives include keeping the fire east of the Frog Creek drainage and north of Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

Along with Yosemite National Park crews, the Rocky Mountain Fire Use Management Team #1 has been brought in to assist with the management of the fire. Additional resources include one hot shot crew, and one fire use module (fire monitors).

Several trails are closed to hiking for visitor safety. These include:

The Beehive Meadow trail above the Hetch Hetchy switchbacks (along Beehive Trail)
Miguel Meadows to Frog Creek / Laurel Lake Trail
The Vernon Lake Trail to Laurel Lake
From the bottom of Jack Main Canyon to Vernon lake via Moraine Ridge
Visitors should expect localized smoke in the Hetch Hetchy and Vernon Lake area. Visitors with respiratory conditions should avoid smoky areas and vigorous activity where heavy smoke is present.

The fire management team is attentive to the public's concerns about smoke impacts to health, visibility, and experiencing the park. The team's management of the fire considers reducing smoke impacts to the visitor as well as restoring healthy conditions to the forest and protecting communities.

For more information call 209/372-0311 or visit the park website at