A blaze in Yosemite National Park that continues to create smoky skies grew to more than 5,100 acres Monday, with some areas of the flames actively flanking into brush and timber.
The South Fork Fire, started Aug. 13 about a mile east of Wawona, was estimated at 5,191 acres and 44% contained Monday morning.
Park officials said mop up and suppression activities will be underway throughout the day, as 101 firefighting personnel monitor and check the inferno’s spread towards the South Fork of the Merced River.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
To the north, near Glacier Point Road, the Empire Fire, started by lightning July 31, grew to 2,300 acres. Because it is in a fire-adapted wilderness area, crews have allowed it to burn naturally, officials said, which creates healthier ecosystems.
Though signs were positive in regards to both fires, smoky conditions remain a regular sight both in and around Yosemite, causing poor air quality, officials said.
In the park, areas like Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and El Capitan have remained smoky for days. Outside Yosemite, Fish Camp, Oakhurst, and Mariposa have also felt the impacts of the haze, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
Those with sensitivity to smoky conditions are advised to consult with their physicians, and remain inside with the windows closed.
Despite the smoggy skies, Yosemite can still be entered and enjoyed from all roads, including Highway 41, officials said.
For more information on the South Fork Fire, dial (209) 379-1493, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5502/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.