Yosemite National Park evacuates Wawona as Washburn Fire burns

A wildfire that sparked in Yosemite National Park Thursday continues to tear through an area with many dead trees, trigging more evacuations in Wawona and Wawona Campground on Friday afternoon.

“Please leave the area immediately,” officials said. “Utilize Wawona Road (Hwy 41) northbound toward Yosemite Valley. Southbound traffic is closed at the Wawona Golf Course.”

As of 5 pm Friday, the Washburn Fire has burned 466 acres, up from 250 acres to start the day. Park spokesperson Scott Gediman told SFGATE on Friday morning that flames had reached the famed Mariposa Grove’s Lower Grove. No details are available yet on the extent of the damage in the grove, which remains closed until further notice. Firefighters have no containment on the blaze.

A view of the Washburn Fire, on Friday, July 8, 2022, currently burning in Yosemite's Mariposa Grove, an area that is well-known as the largest grove of giant Redwoods in the park.

A view of the Washburn Fire, on Friday, July 8, 2022, currently burning in Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove, an area that is well-known as the largest grove of giant Redwoods in the park.

Yosemite Fire & Aviation

According to the park service, the fire started around 2 pm Thursday near the Washburn Trail and is burning in an area of ​​”mixed timber with significant dead / down” trees. Current evacuation orders cover the Mariposa Grove area, Wawona, a small community of over 100 people, and the Wawona Campground, which has about 100 campsites. The fire is also prompting road closures in the area, so visitors should check before driving into the park. An evacuation map can be found here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sagVHwOrom8

One of the most popular visitor attractions in Yosemite National Park, Mariposa Grove has more than 500 mature giant sequoias. Giant sequoias are the largest trees in the world, and the grove holds trees that may be thousands of years old. One of the best-known trees, the towering Grizzly Giant, is estimated to be 2,700 years old. Mariposa Grove was previously closed for three years, from 2015 to 2018, for a $ 40 million restoration project.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act into law, protecting the land, including Mariposa Grove, for the public and future generations. The bill would inspire what would become the National Park System.

The Washburn Fire ignited within Yosemite National Park.

The Washburn Fire ignited within Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park

ALSO READ: Smoke from Washburn Fire in Yosemite headed for Tahoe


The cause of the fire is under investigation. You can check AlertWildfire’s live cameras to monitor the progress of the fire.

This is a developing story and information will be added as it becomes available.

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