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Learn about the hot topic of wildfire in the Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra field seminar

Monday, August 27th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the role of fire in California, our upcoming field seminar, Fire Ecology of the Eastern Sierra, is the place to jump in. After a summer when wildfires have made news all over California and the western US, spend September 15–16, 2018 in the field with fire expert Malcolm North to learn about this powerful force. Sign up here.

The Marina Fire burns on the west side of Mono Lake in June 2016. The site of the Marina Fire will be one of the stops in this seminar. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

It has been a hot summer for wildfires in California, and while fires are vital to maintaining healthy forests in much of the western US, many modern fires burn differently than the fires forests evolved with. What is the current wildfire situation (more…)

Celebrate clean air with a discount on Mono Lake canoe tours

Friday, August 17th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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The Ferguson Fire, which started burning on July 13, 2018 near the western edge of Yosemite National Park, is finally nearing full containment after over a month of hard work by firefighters and response crews. Yosemite Valley was closed for almost two weeks due to road closures and hazardous air quality, but the valley has officially reopened to the public. While the Ferguson Fire is still burning, it is 87% contained as of August 17 and air quality within the park as well as in the surrounding gateway communities has improved drastically.

Anna, Mono Lake Intern, prepares to lead a smoky canoe tour on Mono Lake. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Here at the Mono Lake Committee we were lucky to have clean enough air in the mornings to run all of our scheduled canoe tours despite the generally poor air quality, but visibility was low and views of the surrounding mountains were scarce. (more…)

Yosemite Valley to reopen on Tuesday, August 14

Sunday, August 12th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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Yosemite Valley will be reopening to visitors on Tuesday, August 14 at 9:00am. The valley has been closed to visitors since July 25 due to the Ferguson Fire burning near the park.

Access to the valley will be available from the El Portal Road (Highway 140), the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), or the Tioga Road (Highway 120).

The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias will reopen on Monday, August 13 at 9:00am. Visitors will be able to access the Mariposa Grove via the South Entrance (Highway 41) and park in the newly constructed parking area.

The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias reopened to visitors on June 14 after a three-year restoration project in partnership with the Yosemite Conservancy. Photo courtesy of nps.gov.

Although the South Entrance will be open in order to provide access to the Mariposa Grove and Wawona, there will be no access to Yosemite Valley via Highway 41. (more…)

Highway 120 reopens; Yosemite Valley closed indefinitely

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Today at 2:30pm, Yosemite National Park administrators and fire managers reopened Highway 120 (Tioga Road) through the park.

Firefighters are working to suppress the Ferguson Fire, which is burning in and near Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of NPS.

However, as the Ferguson Fire continues to burn near and in the park, the current park closures have been extended indefinitely.

Closed areas (more…)

Inyo National Forest fire restrictions in effect starting August 4

Saturday, August 4th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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Starting today, fire restrictions are in effect for the Inyo National Forest. These restrictions are similar to those already in place on BLM land and will be in effect until further notice. Fire restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and public lands from wildfire.

Looking toward the Sierra crest from the South Tufa parking area in July, when a thick layer of smoke obscured the normally picturesque view. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

Restrictions include: (more…)

Tioga Road (Highway 120) is closed; Yosemite is accessible from the east

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans closed Highway 120 at Crane Flat at 2:47am due to the Ferguson Fire.

The east side of the Tioga Road is open, from Highway 395 to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park and beyond that to Tuolumne Meadows. But through passage along Highway 120 is not possible—travelers must use alternate routes to get from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other.

Always check road conditions before you travel, and in this season of major fires across California and the west, check the air quality for your destinations as well.

Update: Tioga Road through Yosemite open; Yosemite Valley, Wawona, more closed until at least August 5

Monday, July 30th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Late last week officials with the National Park Service announced that they would be extending temporary closures of Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Wawona Road, and Big Oak Flat Road from Yosemite Valley to Crane Flat through Friday, August 3 Sunday, August 5. Park officials made the decision to close parts of the park last week due to public health concerns related to extreme smoke from the Ferguson Fire. Highway 120 through the park, also known as the Tioga Road, remains open.

Firefighters are working day and night to contain the Ferguson Fire. Photo courtesy of Kari Greer.

Conditions permitting, the affected areas are scheduled to re-open and 4:00pm on Friday, August 3. The park will continue to assess conditions and reevaluate all closures on Sunday, August 5. Be sure to check current conditions before heading into the park.

In addition to these closures (more…)

Parts of Yosemite National Park closed due to wildfire

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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On Tuesday, July 24, National Park Service officials announced that Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and the Mariposa Grove would close temporarily due to the Ferguson Fire burning just west of the park boundary.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite Valley. Photo courtesy of Inciweb.

In addition, both the park’s South Entrance (Highway 41) and the Arch Rock Entrance (Highway 140) are closed. The closure took effect Wednesday at noon and is expected to last until at least Sunday, July 29. Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road (Highway 120), and Hetch Hetchy remain open. (more…)

Wildfires affect air quality in the Mono Basin and Yosemite National Park

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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The sky remains hazy in the Eastern Sierra as smoke from two wildfires continues to affect air quality.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Mono Basin. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

The Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13 and is currently burning over 21,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest just west of Yosemite National Park near the small community of El Portal. Highway 140 is closed, cutting off access to Yosemite via the Arch Rock Entrance. Air quality monitoring in Yosemite Valley rated the air quality as unhealthy or even (more…)

Fire restrictions to take effect July 2 on BLM land

Sunday, July 1st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Beginning Monday, July 2, the Bureau of Land Management will implement fire restrictions throughout Mono and Inyo counties. These restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and our public lands from wildfire.

In 2016 the Marina Fire burned just north of Lee Vining. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Restrictions include: (more…)

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