Detwiler Fire: Is Yosemite Open? Current Status & Air Quality
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Detwiler Fire: Is Yosemite Open? Current Status & Air Quality

Yosemite National Park and Detwiler Fire Getty

Yosemite National Park

As the Detwiler Fire threatens Mariposa, California, it’s also causing some problems for Yosemite National Park. Although the park is currently open, you will want to check conditions and the latest updates before visiting soon. Smoke in the air may affect some visitors, even if the park is open. With the fire still only seven percent contained, circumstances could change fast.

At its closest point, the fire is about 35 miles from the boundary of Yosemite, ABC 10 reported.

Here’s what you need to know about Yosemite National Park’s current status. We will update this story as more news develops.


The Park Is Currently Open, But Smoke in the Air Could Impact Your Visit

Although the park is currently open, there’s smoke in the air that might affect your visit, especially in the afternoons. Firefighters have also been concerned that the Detwiler fire might grow and affect power lines that supply electricity to Yosemite, according to Wildfire Today. Since the fire is nearing certain parts of Yosemite and still growing, you should definitely check for the most recent updates before heading in that direction. Yosemite National Park can be reached at (209) 372-0200 for automated updates about weather and road conditions.

Although Yosemite has a “current conditions” page on its website here, this page isn’t updated except for planned, long term closures. For the most current road conditions, call 209-372-0200, press 1, and then 1. As of Wednesday afternoon, the hotline stated that roads within Yosemite Valley are open. But outside of Yosemite in the community of Mariposa, Highway 140 is closed due to the wildfire.

Current weather updates, using option 1 and then option 2, indicate that “patchy smoke” is expected on Wednesday night. The current conditions list Thursday as being clear, but this may not have been updated yet due to fire conditions for Thursday being unknown.

Visitors took to Facebook to ask about visiting this week or this weekend. Its last update, as of Wednesday night, indicated that the park was open, but there could be smoke in the area that might be troublesome for some people.

As firefighters continue to fight the Detwiler Fire near Mariposa, Yosemite remains open. However, we are experiencing smoky conditions, with air quality in the unhealthy for sensitive groups or unhealthy range. Reduce unnecessary activity, avoid strenuous exercise outdoors, and remain indoors when possible.”

Earlier, Yosemite Park’s representative answered questions specifically about when it was best to visit and how the weekend was looking:

“It’s possible to visit Yosemite Valley, but it may be smoky, especially in the afternoon,” the Facebook representative wrote. And regarding this weekend, the Park’s representative said: “It’s too soon to know for sure. It’s possible it could remain smoky through the weekend.” 

It should also be noted that with so many people evacuating, it is possible you could encounter quite a bit of traffic on nearby roads.


Live Webcams & Air Quality Data

If you’re concerned about smoke in the air affecting your visit, you can view the park’s live webcams to see the current visibility. The webcams can be viewed here. Portions of the park tend to be smokier in the afternoon, according to visitors. Here are some specific webcam links that may interest you:

As of 2:30 p.m Pacific, the air quality in Yosemite near Turtleback Dome was rated as “Good” for an 8 hour average, at 54 ppb. Particulate matter data for one hour and two averages was not available. You can see the most recent air quality data here, by clicking on the “air data & weather” tab.

Sally Clark, who visited the Valley today, mentioned on Facebook that there was a bit of hazy smoke and small bits of ash, but she didn’t think it should be a big problem unless you have asthma. She added that she hikes in the mornings.


Highway 140 Is Closed

According to Yosemite National Park’s Facebook page, Highway 140 is closed in the Mariposa area, west of the park. So if you want to travel to Yosemite, you’ll need to use Highway 41 or 120.

This is what Highway 410 at Midpines looked like at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, shared on Facebook by Eric Radecki. He noted that it was almost dark out in the middle of the day:

Facebook/Eric RadeckiHighway 140 at Midpines on Tuesday

Read more about the fire below:

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