Yosemite National Park Declares Fire Season: What To Know

by Jon D. B.

Moving into July, Yosemite National Park has officially declared fire season. Here’s what that means for visiting and the park itself.

On June 30, Yosemite National Park (YOSE) would declare fire season for 2022. Broadly, this term marks the hotter and drier weather conditions the park experiences. Then, Fire season is officially enacted when the fire danger ratings for the park are at or above a moderate level for three consecutive days, Yosemite cites in their media release.

This has been the case for Yosemite as June movies into July, and fire is a yearly danger for the area. As a result, visitors to the iconic California national park will need to use extra caution.

“When recreating, be sure to follow all fire rules and regulations,” the park asks. “Help prevent human caused wildfires by ensuring your campfire is out cold using the ‘drown, stir, and feel method.'”

If you’re planning to visit Yosemite National Park this summer, be sure to brush up on crucial fire regulations first.

Fire Regulations for Yosemite National Park

Following these regulations significantly decreases any chance of human-caused wildfires. During a fire season in Yosemite, this becomes imperative.

When & Where:

  • Campfires are allowed in all open campgrounds at any time
  • October-April: Fires are allowed at any time, day or night
  • May-September: Visitors can only burn wood fires in Yosemite Valley between the times of 5 pm and 10 pm
    • fires must be completely extinguished by 10 pm
  • Stove and charcoal fires are allowed in campgrounds 24 hours per day

In Yosemite, air conditions may already be smoky from spring through fall due to planned and unplanned fires. This is why the park has campfire regulations for time of day, year, and place.

In addition to their wildfire potential, emissions from campfires also degrade air quality in and near campgrounds. This is especially true at night and in early morning, Yosemite cites. At this time, inversions trap and concentrate fine particles from those campfires near the ground. This creates local conditions that are potentially unhealthy for sensitive individuals.

If you have asthma or any air-affected condition, please use extra caution.

And remember, practice safe campfires. You must always attend your fire; never leave a fire while any flames or embers remain. If you have to leave, put out your fire completely with water when not attended. Do not let them smolder.

Use Yosemite National Park’s Drown, Stir, and Feel Method:

  • Drown the fire completely with as much water as possible
  • Stir the fire to make sure every bit extinguished by water, including unseen embers
  • Feel the top of the fire to ensure it is no longer putting out heat

If camping in Yosemite Valley, remember that firewood collection is not permitted anywhere but within campground boundaries. Firewood collection is okay, however, outside Yosemite Valley below 9,600 feet.

Firewood collected must be less than six inches in diameter. Do not collect pine cones, needles, or sequoia wood. Yosemite National Park also asks that visitors do not bring firewood from more than 50 miles away to prevent spread of forest pests. Firewood is available for purchase at stores near most campgrounds.

Stay safe out there, Outsiders, and do Smokey Bear proud.