Mariposa & Yosemite

Several lightning-sparked fires reported in Yosemite

Sunday's thunderstorm in Yosemite National Park sparked four fires, the National Park Service said.

Lightning-caused fires were reported at Moss Creek near the Merced Grove, Moraine Dome near Little Yosemite Valley, Los Valley just east of Moraine Dome, and Avalanche Creek east of Glacier Point Road. All fires, except the Avalanche Creek blaze, have been suppressed.

Fire officials are allowing the Avalanche Fire, which is in a wilderness area 1 mile north of Chinquapin, to burn under close watch. By managing the fire, Yosemite can provide fire buffer area to the community of Yosemite West, Badger Pass Ski Resort and other park infrastructure.

Smoke from the Avalanche Fire is visible along Glacier Point Road, Wawona Road and Big Oak Flat Road. Yosemite resource managers have installed air quality monitoring equipment within the communities of Yosemite West, El Portal and Yosemite Valley.

The park is also working with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District to monitor potential air quality impacts.

Lightning-caused wildland fires frequently occur during the summer months in Yosemite. Fire is a natural part of the Sierra Nevada ecosystem, which has shaped the forest landscape for thousands of years. Wildland fires create open spaces within dense forest, allowing sunlight to penetrate the forest floor.