Yosemite is a National Reserve in California that we visited on 25 and 26 Aug. It is definitely the highlight of this trip with the majestic granite mountains and giant Sequoia trees!
Apparently wildfires are common throughout the park and fires are necessary for ecosystems to be maintained in the park. An example of this is the giant Sequioa trees that are resistant to fire and need fire to burn out smaller trees around it to ensure that they can grow taller. When we were in the park the rim fire that is currently burning there was around 140,000 acres – approximately three times the size of the city of San Francisco. Today (if you look on http://inciweb.nwcg.gov) the fire is larger than 219,000 acres and the estimate date of containment is 20 September. That is one big-ass fire!!! Below is a picture showing how smoky the air was on our way from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite. The road was visible, but the views around the road were covered in smoke.
We camped at Wawona and to get there we had to drive on the Highway 120. We were nervous about this because the 120 was closed on the Western side due to the fire and we did not know how far we would be able to drive (we entered Yosemite on the Eastern side). Luckily Wawona was not affected by the fire and once we drove through the Yosemite gates, our view was clear and smoke free. On the road there were certain view points where cars pulled over to look at the smoke caused by the fire. In the pictures below, the white in the sky are not natural clouds, they are smoke clouds from the fire! In some places the smoke had an orange glow.