Yosemite is the latest national park to close over smoke impacts and hazardous air quality. The iconic park joins Sequoia and Kings Canyon on the list of recreation spots that have shut their gates in recent days.
The Forest Service had already announced the extension a temporary closure of all eighteen national forests in California back on September 9th due to historic fire conditions throughout the state. Decisions on re-opening will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change, the agency said.
As of 2 p.m. the air quality index at the Yosemite Village Visitor Center stood at 785 on the ‘Air Now‘ government website. That’s considered ‘hazardous’.
Yosemite National Park
In a news release, Yosemite National Park says all park entrance stations and roads were closed effective at 5:00 pm on Thursday.
With air quality projected to be in the unhealthy to hazardous range over the next several days, the park anticipates the closure to be in effect at least throughout the weekend.
The park will continue to assess the smoke impacts, air quality index, and fire activity throughout the region.
Kings Canyon National Park
Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, with Kings Canyon National Park, told GV Wire℠ by phone that at 5 p.m. on Thursday all facilities, parking lots and the park entrance will close. “The only thing that will be open will be the Highway 180 corridor and a portion of Highway 198 for local traffic only,” Kawasaki-Yee said.
With air quality projected to be in the unhealthy to hazardous range over the next several days, the park anticipates the closure to be in effect at least through the weekend.
The park will continue to assess the smoke impacts, air quality index, and fire activity throughout the region. Kings Canyon National Park will reopen to visitors when conditions improve, and it is safe for visitors and employees.
The park entrance station, facilities, services, and parking lots will all close at 5 p.m.
Campground reservations are being canceled through Sunday, September 20 with a full refund.
Those with lodging reservations will be contacted by Delaware North with updates.
— Sequoia & Kings Cyn (@SequoiaKingsNPS) September 17, 2020
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park implemented a full park closure on September 15 in response to the nearby Castle Fire. Many park staff have been evacuated from the area and for visitor and resource protection, park managers decided to close Sequoia.
“With Mineral King, Three Rivers, and the park headquarters under an evacuation notice, staff is focused on preparing to evacuate,” Acting Superintendent Lee Taylor said in an online statement. “To ensure any pending evacuation goes as smoothly as possible we are closing Sequoia to visitors.”