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Yosemite National Park Closes Due to Wildfire Smoke

News National Parks
by Eben Diskin Sep 18, 2020

As the wildfires in California continue to rage, Yosemite National Park was forced to temporarily close Thursday night. The smoke from nearby fires is causing poor air quality, considered so hazardous to health. Starting at 5:00 PM on Thursday, the park closed access to both visitors and vehicles.

The National Parks Service told Travel & Leisure, “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.”

Although air quality has generally improved on the West Coast compared to earlier in the week, some locations — including Yosemite — are registering in the 200s and 300s. A reading in the 200s is considered a health alert while one in the 300s qualifies as “emergency conditions.” Air quality in California has reached the 400s and 500s as recently as Monday.

Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park also closed on Thursday due to neighboring wildfire, evacuation notices, and hazardous air quality.

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