One of the two main highways into Yosemite National Park from the Bay Area remained closed Thursday as smoke from a wildfire poured into the park.
The Briceburg Fire, which began Sunday afternoon in the steep canyons of the Merced River, roughly 12 miles east of Yosemite’s Arch Rock Entrance along Highway 140, had burned 4,900 acres and was 25% contained by mid-day Thursday. The fire had doubled in size over the past 48 hours.
“I wouldn’t say we have the upper hand,” said CalFire spokeswoman Emily Kilgore. “But things are working in our favor. The winds that were predicted really haven’t come to fruition, so we have been making a lot of progress and we expect to see more through the day.”
Heading into the weekend, Yosemite National Park remained open.
“The park is open. It’s still busy,” said Yosemite spokeswoman Jamie Richards. “Visitors are coming. We do have some smoke impacts but it’s business as usual.”
Smoke levels in Yosemite Valley varied widely.
At 1 p.m. Thursday, an air monitor in Yosemite Village showed an air quality index of 151, right on the border between the level that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes as “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and “unhealthy” for all groups.
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Source:: East Bay – Science