The Empire Fire, burning about a mile north of Bridalveil Campground in Yosemite National Park, has forced the closure of Glacier Point Road, park spokeswoman Jamie Richards said.
Richards said crews were at work to keep the fire - at 5,637 acres and 55% contained Friday - from reaching the roadway, as it was about a half mile to the south by the afternoon.
She said with winds from the south pushing the blaze north as they reached gusts of up to 15 mph, activity had increased throughout the day.
“The fire crew is certainly concerned the fires could pose a threat to public safety for any motorists on the road,” Richards said. “So the road has been closed for public safety concerns due not only to it being an active fire, but for winds forecasted throughout the day.”
Glacier Point Road was closed due to the Empire and South Fork fires burning in the park. It was reopened Sept. 5 before the closure either early Friday or late Thursday, Richards said.
The Empire Fire started July 31 from a lightning strike, and was discovered by rangers the next day. It was being allowed to burn in a fire-adapted wilderness to help improve ecosystems in the area.
The following closures were in place Friday morning:
☆ Glacier Point Road
☆ Bridalveil Campground
☆ Ostrander Trail
☆ Bridalveil Trail
☆ Alder Creek Trail
☆ Mono Meadow Trail
☆ Turner Meadow Trail
Information on the Empire Fire can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5475/. A reopening date or time for Glacier Point Road was not available Friday afternoon, Richards said.
South Fork Fire
Park officials also provided updates on the South Fork Fire, located east of Wawona, Friday morning. By 6:15 a.m., the fire was reported at 6,640 acres and 47% contained.
The following closures were in place:
☆ The Swinging Bridge Trail on both the north and south sides of the South Fork of the Merced River.
☆ The Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona Trailhead to the top of Chilnualna Falls.
☆ The two-mile connecting trail heading north from the top of Chilnualna Falls to the intersection of the Buena Vista Trail.
☆ The Chilnualna Creek Trail from the top of Chilnualna Falls east to the intersection of the Buena Vista and Buck Camp trails (Just east of Johnson Lake).
☆ Turner Meadow Trail
☆ Turner Meadow intersection east to Buena Vista trail
☆ Off-trail areas in the vicinity of the South Fork Fire Area, including the swimming holes north of Chilnualna Creek.
☆ All climbing routes on and around Wawona Dome
Information on the South Fork Fire can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5502/.
Though the fire once threatened Wawona locations and forced evacuations, Highway 41 remained open in the area, and sites such as Big Trees Lodge (formerly Wawona Hotel) and the Wawona Golf Course were open for business Friday.