Yosemite to reopen Friday whereas fires and smoke bother different public lands

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Yosemite National Park will reopen Friday, with a gradual reopening of visitor services over the weekend.

The move, announced Wednesday, follows a Sept. 17 closure because of unhealthy air quality. National Park Service officials said campsites in Yosemite Valley will be available for campers beginning Friday. (The campground takes bookings at recreation.gov.)

The park will still require day-use reservations to enter, a measure adopted earlier this year to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection through crowding.

Meanwhile, the nearby Creek fire continues to burn. As of Wednesday morning, it has covered more than 289,000 acres, blackening large portions of Sierra National Forest and drawing within 14 miles of Mammoth Lakes. Authorities said the fire was 42% contained.

Nearby, along the Sierra foothills, Kings Canyon National Park was expected to reopen Wednesday but Sequoia National Park remained closed.

On the coast, Highway 1 reopened Monday after a closure that lasted more than a month as firefighters battled the Dolan fire near Big Sur in Monterey County.

Much public land remains closed because of fire threats or air befouled by smoke. Several of Monterey County’s state parks are still shut, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln, Pfeiffer Big Sur and Point Sur State Historic Park.

As of Wednesday morning, the Dolan fire had blackened more than 128,000 acres and was 44% contained. More than 500 firefighters are working on the blaze, whose origins are unknown.

In Southern California, all of the region’s national forests are closed, including Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests.

The Forest Service has a regional order in place that closes those forests through Thursday. It’s still “a day-to-day decision” on when to reopen, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jonathan Groveman.

As of Wednesday noon, the Bobcat fire in Angeles National Forest had claimed more than 113,000 acres and was 38% contained.

Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks remain open.

Farther north, these national forests are open to varying degrees: Eldorado, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta-Trinity, Stanislaus and Tahoe. These forests are closed through at least Thursday: Inyo, Sequoia, Sierra, Klamath and Six Rivers.

Authorities urged would-be visitors to check individual forest web pages for specific restrictions; the Cal Fire website for updates on the blazes in progress; and AirNow or a comparable source for air-quality readings.

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