Yosemite National Park Friday, October 20th, 2017

October 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment
Friday, October 20th, 2017
 
Today: Becoming mostly sunny in the afternoon. Showers likely in the morning, gusts up to 40 mph in the morning. Near the crest, a 50 percent chance of snow showers in the morning. Over higher elevations, gusts up to 65 mph in the morning decreasing to 45 mph in the afternoon. Windy, cooler. Snow accumulation up to 2 inches. Total snow accumulation up to 4 inches. Snow level above 8000 feet. Highs 48 to 56 at 5000 feet...39 to 45 at 8000 feet. West winds 30 to 40 mph over higher elevations.
TonightMostly clear. Lows 32 to 42 at 5000 feet...23 to 33 at 8000 feet.
Tomorrow
Sunny. Not as cool. Highs 55 to 65 at 5000 feet... 51 to 59 at 8000 feet.
 
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
 
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NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY
 

Pardon our dust - We are making exciting changes to the Food Court!

 Yosemite Hospitality is renovating the Food Court to the new Base Camp Eatery, opening early spring 2018. Guests will enjoy Base Camp’s updated and comfortable dining area with a variety of convenient dining options.

 

The Food Court closed on October 15, 2017. Please visit the Garden Terrace for casual dining during construction. Additional dining options: Mountain Room (dinner), Mountain Room Lounge (continental breakfast/dinner), Degnan’s Kitchen/The Loft at Degnan’s, Half Dome Village, The Majestic Yosemite Hotel Dining Room and The Majestic Yosemite Hotel Bar.

 

Visitors should check the Yosemite Guide for current dining hours at each location. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm  (L. Cesaro)

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Half Dome Village Pavilion Closing Date Extended
The Half Dome Village Pavilion closing date has been extended one week.  The Pavilion will now close after breakfast on Monday, October 30th. (E. Callahan)
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Empire Fire Update 
Location: East of Glacier Point Road, primarily in the Illilouette Basin.
Discovery Date: July 31st, 2017                              Incident Personnel: 7
Size: 8,094 acres                                                       Helicopters: 1
Containment: 85%                                        
Cause: Lightning                              
 
Fire activity has increased this week due to warmer drier temperatures. The Empire Fire is burning into the 2004 Meadow Fire footprint in the Illilouette drainage.  This area has shrubs and heavier dead and down fuel. With the expected warm and dry air and stable atmospheric conditions, expect poor dispersion of smoke, which means we are likely to have smoke in Yosemite Valley and the El Portal area throughout the coming week. The trajectory of the fire will likely take it in the direction of sparser fuels later in the week, which should reduce smoke production.
 
Crews will continue to monitor this fire, currently scouting for opportunities to reduce smoke production on the north end.
Glacier Point Road is open. Please exercise caution and drive carefully as there may be smoke impairing visibility along the road between Mono Meadow and Sentinel Dome trailhead parking areas.
 
The west and south flanks of the fire are contained and will continue to be monitored by aircraft and fire personnel. The east flank is continuing to burn in the Illilouette drainage. In Wilderness, lightning ignited fires are often allowed to burn if they do not threaten developed areas. The Yosemite Wilderness is a fire adapted ecosystem where past fire suppression has resulted in unnaturally high fuel levels. Allowing natural fires to burn produces a healthier, more diverse forest. By reducing the amount of fuel these fires reduce the severity of future fires.
 
The following trail and area closures are in place until further notice:
 
Bridalveil Campground
Ostrander Trail
Bridalveil Trail
Alder Creek Trail
Mono Meadow Trail
Turner Meadow Trail
Fire Managers are working with the local Air Quality Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the park and local communities.
 
Updates will be created on Friday of each week, unless there is significant change.
 
For additional Information:
 
Fire Information:  Yose_Fire_Info@nps.gov(209) 379-1493
Yosemite National Park Fire Information website:  http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/fireinfo.htm
Facebook: Search-- Yosemite Fire and Aviation: @YosemiteFire
Twitter:  Search @YosemiteFire https://twitter.com/YosemiteFire
 
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RECENT NEWS
Gateway Expressions Judging Today
Yosemite Employees (NPS, Concessions, NatureBridge, Aramark, etc.) come and take a break during your busy day to be a judge of children's art submissions to the Gateway Expressions Art, Photography and Poetry Contest! 
Location: Yosemite Valley Ampitheater
Time: 10 am-3 pm  (A. Guzman)
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Tioga Pass Temporary Closure Today
The current forecast for Tioga Pass calls for snow Thursday night. As a safety precaution, Tioga Road (which is the continuation of Hwy 120) will be closed by 5pm Thursdayevening. Rangers will reevaluate Friday morning.  For up to date weather forecasts go to www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/weathermap.htm and for current road conditions call 209-372-0200 (press 1, 1).  (M. Roubal)
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Greater Likelihood Of Rock Debris On Park Roads During Wet Weather
With wet winter weather just around the corner, drivers are reminded of the greater likelihood of encountering rock debris on park roads during wet weather.  Although rockfalls are always possible along all park roadways, they tend to happen more often during winter storms. The area affected by the June 12, 2017 rockfall at Parkline Slab (downhill of Dog Rock) may be particularly prone to storm-triggered rockfalls, as there is abundant loose debris on the bedrock slope above the road that is likely to be mobilized by significant rainfall.
 
Those driving the El Portal Road should be especially vigilant for rock debris below Parkline Slab during or immediately after rainstorms, and be aware that road closures may occur in response to these storms.
 
If you encounter small rock debris on the road, drive through the area (do not stop within the debris) and promptly report it to Park Dispatch.  Do not attempt to remove the debris yourself – leave that task to road crews equipped to do so safely. If you encounter large rock debris on the road, turn around and promptly report it to Park Dispatch.  (G. Stock)
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Inspections Next Week
B&G will be conducting fire alarm and extinguisher inspections in all permanent housing units next week. Please be on the look out for tags on your doors with a date of inspection.  (S. Kincaid)
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Increased Bear Activity
It's fall, and bears are searching for high calorie foods to pack on weight for winter hibernation. This time of year, there is usually an uptick in bear activity throughout the park, particularly in Yosemite Valley and El Portal. There have also been reports of bears at Foresta and Crane Flat this past week. This is a  common time of year for bears to start entering homes through open windows or doors in search of food. 
 
Please help protect bears from learning these destructive, and often lethal, behaviors. 
- Keep your windows and doors closed when you're away or asleep- particularly in and around the kitchen. 
- Clean up attractants outside your home so that bears aren't tempted to linger in neighborhoods. This means picking the remaining fruit from your fruit trees, cleaning up any recycling left outside, and feeding your pets indoors. 
- Please keep pumpkins inside until Halloween, and bring them in after trick or treating ends on Halloween night. Bears in the park have eaten pumpkins on people's porches! Also remember not to leave a bowl of candy on your porch - you may get a real bear instead of a costumed one.
- Keep vehicles clean of all food, drinks, toiletries, trash, and recycling. 
- Always clip dumpsters. 
 
Everyone's efforts are appreciated. It takes the whole community to help keep Yosemite's bears wild.  (C. Lee-Roney)
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Yosemite National Park Implements Road and Campground Improvements - Yosemite News Release October 18, 2017
Improvements underway along Northside Drive and Camp 4 Campground
 
Yosemite National Park is working to implement several roadway and campground improvements within Yosemite Valley. Extensive work is being conducted on Northside Drive, the road leading from Yosemite Village to Yosemite Falls and toward the park exits. Significant work is also being conducted at Camp 4, a popular campground in Yosemite Valley. The current work is expected to be completed by  this winter , and compliments the work that was completed earlier this summer. 
 
On Northside Drive, work is being done to repave the road and add curbing for safety and resource protection. Work is also being done to realign portions of the road and do some sewer and utility work. The work on this portion of the road is in addition to work completed earlier this year which included a total redesign of the Yosemite Village Parking Area (formerly known as Camp 6), installation of a roundabout, and the repaving of the road from Stoneman Bridge to Yosemite Village. The total cost of the roadwork is approximately $14 million, coming from Federal Highways Administration, and the Recreational Fee Program.
 
In addition to the benefits of improving traffic flow and delineating visitor parking, the road projects include 1.7 acres of wetland restoration in an ecologically important and sensitive area of Yosemite Valley. The work is part of the implementation of the Merced River Plan, finalized in 2014,  which directs actions that protect the Merced River (a federally designated Wild & Scenic River) and enhances the visitor experience.
 
Concurrently, significant work is being conducted in and around Camp 4, a popular walk-in campground in Yosemite Valley. Currently, the parking lot is being expanded, bringing the capacity to 130 vehicles.  Either later this fall or in Spring, 2018 , 25 campsites are being added (each site can accommodate 6 people) which will bring the total to 57 campsites. A new comfort station is also being constructed in which showers will be included. This will be the first park campground that will provide shower facilities for people staying in the campground .  The total cost of the  campground project is approximately $2 million  (funded by the Recreational Fee Program) and is expected to be completed in 2018.
 
All roads within Yosemite Valley and Camp 4 remain open during the construction. There are some lane closures and traffic delays associated with the ongoing work. There will be no active construction in the winter, and projects will resume in Spring 2018.  (S. Gediman)
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Yosemite National Park Identifies Remains of Alexander Sevier - Yosemite News Release October 18, 2017
Member of U.S. Navy last seen in park on May 3, 2017
 
Yosemite National Park Rangers have positively identified the remains of Alexander Joseph Sevier, a visitor who was last seen in Yosemite Valley on May 3, 2017. Sevier, a member of the U.S. Navy was staying in Housekeeping Camp and was witnessed going out on day hikes each day during his visit. When he was reported missing, Park Rangers, with the aid of search dogs and a CHP helicopter, launched an extensive search looking for him. The search has been ongoing.
 
At the end of August, human remains were discovered near the banks of the Merced River below Vernal Fall. The remains were sent out for DNA testing, and were confirmed to be the remains of Sevier.
 
Sevier's family has been notified.
 
Yosemite National Park worked with several agencies during the investigation and would like to acknowledge and thank the National Park Service Special Agents, the United States Navy, Special Agents from the Naval Criminal Investigation Service  (NCIS), Mariposa County Sheriffs Office,.the  California Highway Patrol, YODOGS (trained search dogs),  and Forensic Specialists from the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Services.for their assistance during the search and investigation.  (S. Gediman)
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Smoke In Yosemite
Over the past few days, Yosemite has been experiencing some high smoke concentrations.   The recent weather pattern of higher temperatures and stable air has created conditions that have allowed the Empire fire to burn into an area with heavier fuels that produced smoke that didn’t fully clear out in the afternoons.   Smoke from other fires in the state, particularly those north of the bay area, has also contributed to the poor air quality in the park. While there may be some relief over the next couple days, this pattern is forecasted to return again this weekend and into next week. Air quality in Yosemite Valley and El Portal may go into the Air Quality Index category of “Unhealthy” at certain times over this period.
 
You may find more information on the Air Quality Index and recommended activity levels by going to https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi
You may find more information on air quality in Yosemite at https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/aqmonitoring.htm  (K. Warner)
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Welcome Wren
Yosemite Fire and Aviation Management is excited to welcome the birth of Wren Elizabeth Saunders. Wren was born 10/15/17 at a healthy 7lbs 1oz.  Everyone is home and doing well.  Congratulations to Shanelle and Jerry!  (N. Phillipe) 
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Power Outage on Indian Creek Road 10/18
Power will be interrupted at several residences on Indian Creek Road (9000,9001,9003,9005,9007,9009,9011,9013). Outage will take place on October 18th beginning at 8:30am and ending at 4:30pm. This is to restore the electrical service to house 135.  (M. Alcantar)
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Reporting Time for VIPs
It's reporting time for Volunteers-in-Parks. Please ensure you have sent in all FY17 volunteer-related records, including agreements, reimbursements, and hours by the end of this week! Use inter-office mail, fax to 379-1350, or scan to yose_volunteers@nps.gov.  (S. Kintner)
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Seasonal Closing Dates Extended for Glacier Point Store and Yosemite Valley Lodge Bike Stand
The closing date for the Glacier Point Store & Snack Stand has been extended to Sunday, October 22nd. The closing date for the Yosemite Valley Lodge Bike Stand has been extended to Sunday, November 12th. (E. Callahan)
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Fire Update - October 16th
 
Empire
Discovered: 8/1/17     
Location: 1 mile east of Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area and 3/4 mile south of Glacier Point Road
Size: 7,000 acres        Cause: Lightning         Containment: 85%      Fuels: Red fir 
Slope driven fire remains very active east of Mono Meadow. This can be seen on the Illilouette Ridge from the Glacier Point Road. Crews will continue to monitor. Glacier Point road is open, subject to smoke along the road from Badger Pass to Sentinel Dome Parking Area.
 
South Fork 
Discovered: 8/13/17                           
Location: .75 miles east of the community of Wawona
Size: 7,564 acres        Cause: Lightning         Containment: 85%      Fuels: Mixed conifer and red fir
Fire remains quiet near the community of Wawona on the west and south flank of the fire. Sections of the north flank and the entire east flank are continuing to burn in the wilderness Fire activity has been minimal this week
 
Starr King 
Discovered: 8/2/17     
Location: N 37° 42.965' x W 119° 29.588' at approximately 7800 feet elevation
Size: 70 acres             Cause: Lightning         Spread Potential: Low/ Moderate
Fuels: Red fir/ Lodgepole        Strategy: Monitor
Visible from Sentinel Dome, Washburn and Glacier Point
 
Porcupine
Discovered: 8/2/17     
Location: N 37° 49.336' x W 119° 34.720' at approximately 8154 feet elevation off Tioga road.  
Size: 7 acres               Cause: Lightning         Spread Potential: Low
Fuels: Lodgepole/Red fir         Strategy: Monitor        
Visible from Tioga Road  
 
Ribbon
Discovered: 9/26/17   
Location: 37 45.3 x 119 38.5 at approximately 8154 feet elevation off Tioga road. 
Size: 2 Acres                           Cause: Lightning         Spread Potential: Low
Fuels: Low brush         Strategy: Monitor        
Visible from Sentinel Dome and Glacier Point
 

Prescribed Fire Update

On Saturday Yosemite Fire managers made the decision to postpone the prescription burns in the Mariposa Grove and the Soupbowl until further notice.  A dry stable air mass with low relative humidity was the primary driver for being out of prescription.

 

Prescribed fire is a very important tool for reducing excessive fuel build up near our communities in order to reduce severity of future fires.  When the conditions are right, we hope to proceed with these prescribed fires. 

 
WTREX (Women in Fire Prescribed Fire Training Exchange) will continue working with Yosemite Fire crews.  You might see a high percentage of women firefighters from various federal, state and other non-profit agencies assisting the park with fire management activities.  Currently only 10% of wildland fire positions are filled by women. This international 12 day training is comprised of 90% women.  
 
There are multiple fires burning in Yosemite National Park's wilderness. Fire managers are working with the local Air Quality Pollution Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the park and local communities. Due to moderate smoke production from the Empire wildfire, Yosemite Valley will experience smoke, this will be compounded with campfire smoke until the morning inversion lifts. 

For additional Information:
Fire Information:  Yose_Fire_Info@nps.gov(209) 379-1493
Yosemite National Park Fire Information website: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/fireinfo.htm
Facebook: Search-- Yosemite Fire and Aviation: @YosemiteFire
Twitter:  Search @YosemiteFire https://twitter.com/YosemiteFire
Current fire and air quality conditions: https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires  (L. Murphy)
 
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CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS
 

Yosemite Valley Parking and Road Construction Update

Contractors will continue work on Northside Drive between Sentinel Drive and the Yosemite Lodge crossing near Yosemite Falls. Currently they are installing curbs. Flaggers will control traffic, with one lane open at a time.

 

Contractors will also continue roadwork on Northside Drive from the Yosemite Lodge intersection to just past Camp 4. The Camp 4 parking area will remain closed while contractors set wheel stops. Campers will continue to have parking available across the street at the Yosemite Falls parking area. Northside Drive between the Yosemite Falls crossing and Camp 4 will remain limited to one westbound lane. Eastbound traffic will continue to travel through Yosemite Lodge. The contractors hope to complete this work by Thanksgiving if the weather remains favorable.

 

Masons will begin work on the masonry headwalls on Northside Drive in the west end of Yosemite Valley and El Portal Road between Pohono Bridge and the Big Oak Flat intersection. Work will take place during the day, with one lane closed near each headwall.  (L. Acree)

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Wawona Road Delays - Update 9-27-17
Around South Entrance: There will be 30-minute delays with single lane traffic control 6AM to 8PM as paving operations continue, so there will be extensive truck traffic around South Entrance as crews continue grading and paving the roadways and parking lots.  The 30-minute delays will continue thru September and October as crews continue grading and paving operations.
 
Between the Rostrum and the Wawona Tunnel: There will be up to 15-minute delays 8PM to 6AM as crews continue with culvert-shoulder-ditch repairs.
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El Portal Road Delays - Update 9-27-17
Crews have started working days and nights, completing storm-slide repairs on the El Portal Road between the western park boundary (Yosemite View Lodge) and the Big Oak Flat Intersection. The following delays should be anticipated while traveling the El Portal Road between the western park boundary and the Big Oak Flat Intersection:
8pm to 10pm – delays limited to 15 minutes
10pm to 6am – delays limited to 30 minutes
6am to 8am – delays limited to 15 minutes
8am to 3:30pm -- delays limited to 30 minutes
3:30pm to 5:30pm -- delays limited to 15 minutes  (M. Pieper)
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Big Oak Flat Road Construction
Road crews will be working from the long tunnel on BOF /HWY 120, working westward, starting September 20th. Expect short delays. Please drive slowly in the work zone, watching for workers, equipment and debris on the road. This project is expected to last up to 4 weeks, with operations being done on Monday-Thursday, 0700-1600 and some Fridays.  (B. Brantley)

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