View Full Version : Fire in the Valley

19-Jul-2007, 11:33
Just checked the webcams for Yosemite Valley.

Too late in the year for a control burn, so it looks like the valley will be a mess for a couple days.

Web Cam:



mike kwiatkowski
19-Jul-2007, 12:00
yikes. I wonder if anyone on the forum who lives in or near the valley has any news on this. That is if it is not a controlled burn (why would they do one in summer). I hate to see fire in the valley although there have been massive floods and everything else including fire in the past.

19-Jul-2007, 12:22

This year the weather has been weird up hear. Cool, some rain and lighting storms which causes fire every year. Most of the time they Just let the fires burn out when started by lightning.

Babcock complex
Wildland Fire Use

Started on or about
07/10/2007 (Evening)

Status as of



3/4 mi. north of Echo Valley and Merced Lake, east of Half in the Yosemite Wilderness (CA)

Acreage Burned
The Babcock fire is currently at 20 acres, and has been averaging 3-5 acres per day for the past few days.

Park Status
No closures or restrictions at this time. Warning signs have been posted for backpackers along the Fletcher and Lewis trails, advising them to avoid the immediate vicinity of these fires. Localized smoke may accumulate during the morning hours near the Babcock lake area and other low-lying flat ares in the vicinity. All High Sierra Camps and the Wilderness Permit office are posting smoke and fire advisories for potential backpackers in these areas.

The Echo and the Babcock Fires were combined into the Babcock complex on July 13th. The fire is currently at 9000 ft, 20 acres with moderate growth potential in bug-killed lodgepole pine forest. 40% of the perimeter is active, and fire crews have observed low levels of fire spread (single tree torching, short-distance spotting and some downslope rollout.

19-Jul-2007, 12:27
No info on the Yosemite Park Website yet...but the smoke is no getting thicker, so they probably have a handle on it. The smoke is not black, so there probably is not a vehicle involved.

Last night I talked for an hour with a friend who lives in Yosemite Valley...he made no mention of a fire, so it probably started today.


PS...FYI...The Babcock fire is in the wilderness, not in the Valley, so this is a new one.

19-Jul-2007, 15:39
Well Yosemite is not the only place on fire. I'm right next to Zion National Park. they have started evacuations of the homes near Navajo Lake. The back country is complete closed and searches are going on to rescue any stranded before they banned back country activities. the canyon itself is so smoke filled you can't breath. Near me, it is so bad, that visibility is down to 1/2 mile. It is just plain miserable here. they have no idea when it will be contained. It started as three small fires, and merged into one big whopper. No rain in sight either.

19-Jul-2007, 16:24
It is going to be that kind of summer, I am afraid. A large part of me is thankful that I no longer am a wildlands fire-fighter. Never did a whole lot of it, but have had fire licking my face enough to know it is for younger people. My last couple years with the US Forest Service I did more fire look-out duty than fight fires...that was fine with me!

We just has an inch of rain on the coast and a half inch inland -- it has helped to control the fires we have going...but it is warming up again and it wasn't enough rain to keep things moist for long.

Best of luck, Aggie in your area.


19-Jul-2007, 17:41
Only looks like residual smoke coming from the fire now -- probably in the last stages of being mopped up. If the down canyon winds this late evening/morning don't being the smoke back into the Valley, tomorrow won't be bad.


Rick Moore
19-Jul-2007, 19:27
When I was last in the valley in August 2003, they were doing controlled burns in the woods along the north loop of the road in the west end of the valley every afternoon. It made the crazy August traffic even worse.

Keith S. Walklet
19-Jul-2007, 20:57

The Babcock fires and those canyon winds are plenty to fill the valley with smoke. When a fire starts in Little Yosemite or the Illilouette drainage, the smoke drains into Yosemite Valley, driven by downcanyon nighttime breezes. During the day, the direction of the prevailing wind is upcanyon and much of the smoke is dispersed to a broader area, only to concentrate again in the evening. I'm surprised to see that the fire has moderate growth potential. I'd have thought that there is not a whole lot more to burn up Echo Canyon. It seems to me that area burned pretty thoroughly not too long ago.

But, while the smoke is crummy to breathe, it can make for some really interesting images. Mike Osborne and Jeff Grandy both have some really special images taken during fires. Mike's is particularly intriguing. He framed some trees silhouetted on the rim of the valley against the sun, but because of the smoke, only the trees and sun are visible. It looks like a double exposure.

19-Jul-2007, 21:49
I was camping in the Valley in August 1994. We did the top of Half Dome hike and there was a good size fire just on the other side of the Little Yosemite Valley (between LYV and Star King). On the way back to the Valley, we joined all the backpackers kicked out of LYV as they were afraid the fire would come over the ridge.

The campgrounds were their typical summer packed zoo. We had a lousy campsite by the telephones -- constant stream of teen-age girls calling whoever. But the smoke eventually reduced the number of campers by a third -- but it was fine in the afternoon when the up canyon winds would blow all the smoke back into the high country...but it would come back in the mornings...you could not see the walls of the valley!

I did get a good photo from the base of Pothole Dome looking towards Cathedral Peak...the light smoky haze actually helped it -- it was in the last Mumm's show if you made it there (8x10 platinum/palladium print).


Edited to add...that fire would have been in the Illilouette drainage come to think of it.

Keith S. Walklet
19-Jul-2007, 22:05
Yup, that's the one I was thinking of. The "ILL" fire.

It was a big deal for all the smoke it generated, but also I believe that was the first year NPS was using software to predict fire behavior. I am also pretty sure that was the year Osborne and Grandy both made there images. Grandy's is of Cathedral Rocks, and I think National Geographic used it for the Yosemite: An American Treasure, although it was pretty tightly cropped, (as he is quick to point out).

Little Yo burned in a big way that year just below Merced Lake where Echo creek comes in. Some monster trees in that forest, too. It is amazing to think they had a chance to get that big at all, but I guess being tucked down in the canyon, lightning is less likely to find them.

And if there weren't so many leaves on the trees this time of year, the landscape kind of looks like the ghostly silhouettes Kerik would get mid-winter in the Central Valley.

David Karp
23-Jul-2007, 15:46
I was there last week. The 7/19 fire was a controlled burn. I saw an official post by the NPS.

Pretty much lasted one day.