Skip to main content

Yosemite Valley Prescribed Burn

Unit Information

Yosemite National Park
National Park Service
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

NPS Shield

This incident is no longer being updated.

Two large fire vehicles, a fire engine and water tender, in a smoky forest. Image options: [ Full Size ]

Following a successful test fire on the morning of May 24 and determination by Yosemite National Park Fire Management, fire crews are continuing with ignitions on the 439-acre Yosemite Valley Prescribed Burn. The project will focus on seven units east of El Capitan Crossover toward Leidig Meadow. Ignitions could last three days with smoke lingering in Yosemite Valley for one to two weeks. Smoke impacts will be localized to Yosemite Valley during the day with smoke likely drifting down canyon during the evening hours. This project is part of the Yosemite Valley Parkwide Prescribed Fire Plan which encompasses 35 units totaling 12,114 acres.

Deputy Fire Management Officer Kelly Singer stated, “conducting fuels treatment in this area will reduce heavy accumulation of dead and down fuels. We anticipate temporary trail closures on the Valley Loop trail during burning operations. Visitors around Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, and the 4-mile Trailhead starting from the Valley floor should expect to see fire personnel in the area.” There will be traffic control with one lane temporary closures in place.  

Fire managers work closely with air quality specialists and local air pollution control districts to time projects to coincide with favorable weather and smoke dispersion conditions. Smoke impacts are always a consideration in the decision to begin prescribed burning ignitions. For air quality information, please visit: Yosemite Air Quality Page or

Over 50 years of research has shown park managers that total suppression of all fires does not prevent large severe wildfires. Park managers understand fires are inevitable in our fire-adapted ecosystem and working with fire is a pro-active way to protect our resources. Prescribed fire is an important technique used to reduce excessive vegetation build up on the landscape and reduce the potential for more severe fires. 


May 24, 2021:  Today on the Yosemite Valley Prescribed Burn, fire crews were able to complete 87 acres. With traffic control in Yosemite Valley for the next few days, firefighters want to remind visitors to please slow down as traffic patterns may change throughout the day. Ignitions will continue for the next couple of days as we work to ensure a healthy and sustainable forest. Pictures added to the Photographs tab.  
May 25:  Fire crews have completed 115 acres of prescribed burning on the Yosemite Valley project. We focused on the area east of El Capitan Cross this evening. Tomorrow we are planning on active burning on the northern portion of the unit. Traffic control will remain in place, please slow down for firefighters working in the area.
May 26: Ignitions were complete today on the prescribed burn. In total, 182 acres were treated. The reason ignitions were not done through the whole prescribed burn area, is that conditions changed and fire managers wanted to ensure objectives were being met by not rushing through this project. 

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypePrescribed Fire
Date of OriginMonday May 24th, 2021 approx. 09:30 AM
LocationYosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park
Incident CommanderYosemite National Park Fire and Aviation Management
Coordinates37.729 latitude, -119.611 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel80
Size439 Acres
Fuels Involved

Mixed conifer

Significant Events

Completed acreage to date: 182 acres.


Planned Actions

Patrol and monitor the area.

Projected Incident Activity

Remaining acres will be completed at a later date.


Ignitions began in the morning on May 24, 2021.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns