A wildfire in the Sierra National Forest trapped vacationers over the weekend and helicopter rescues were required. The fire sent billowing smoke into the Yosemite area and heaps of ash onto classic rock routes.
The Creek Fire was burning just south of Yosemite, it began Friday evening and was going strong by Saturday. Of the 63 people rescued, two were severely injured and 10 were moderately injured.
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Due to the Creek Fire, a fire advisory is in effect south of Chinquapin in Yosemite National Park (this includes Wawona). An advisory message is a notice of danger in the future; it is NOT an evacuation order, but you should get set in case an order is given. You should always evacuate if you feel unsafe. If you receive a message or if a ranger tells you to evacuate, please do so immediately. Prepare now in case you receive an evacuation order. If you are staying in Wawona, be sure to bring important items with you if you travel to other areas of the park (e.g., medications, passports, etc.) in case you're unable to return to Wawona later. The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will close tonight (September 6) at 7 pm. The Creek Fire is currently burning outside the park, in the Shaver Lake area. Visibility and air quality are reduced throughout Yosemite due to smoke. For current air quality, fire updates, and to sign up for emergency alerts for the Yosemite region, visit go.nps.gov/links (link in bio). If you have Yosemite-specific questions, you can comment here or call 209/372-0200 (then 3, 5).
The fire sent big plumes of smoke into the air, affecting the air quality for kilometres around and turning the sky a dark orange.
The air quality in Yosemite was better Sunday morning, as winds picked up. Unfortunately, that wind is contributing to difficult fire-fighting conditions coupled with the extreme heat California is currently experiencing.
Gripped contributor, Chris Van Leuven, sent us the below video by Tom Herbert of ash falling off El Capitan. For more information on the fire visit here.