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Thin snowpack, dry conditions bring early fire season to Yosemite

May 20, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
  • Tourists snap photos of Yosemite Falls last month. Despite the water works, the park is experiencing higher than usual fire danger for this time of year.
Tourists snap photos of Yosemite Falls last month. Despite the water works,… (Kathy Matheson / Associated…)

Campers and visitors are urged to take extra care with campfires when visiting Yosemite National Park  because fire danger is higher than average for this time of year, according to a park announcement.

Fire season in the park officially starts Monday. "The park is currently transitioning to fire season preparedness and fire resources will be available seven days per week for suppression efforts within the park," the statement said. 

Some safety tips for campers, from the park's website:

  • Campfires are allowed only between 5 and 10 p.m. from now through September in Yosemite Valley camps.
  • Don't leave fires unattended. Douse them completely with water.
  • Buy firewood at stores near the campground. You can't gather wood, pine cones, pine needles or other kindling in the park, and officials discourage folks from bringing firewood from more than 50 miles from the park for fear it may carry unwanted pests.

The National Interagency Coordination Center, which coordinates resources for wildfires, predicts a large swatch of California will be in the above-normal fire danger range from May through August. Indeed, Southern California has already experienced early wildfires this month with the Springs fire in Newbury Park and the Grand fire in Frazier Park.

The last major fire in Yosemite was the 2009 Big Meadow fire that started as a controlled burn of 91 acres but escaped and charred 7,425 acres before it was extinguished.
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