Yosemite reopening iconic areas amid Calif. wildfires

Features closed for nearly 3 weeks

By AMIR VERA, CNN
chensiyuan via Wikimedia Commons

(CNN) - Several of Yosemite National Park's crown jewels -- including Half Dome and El Capitan -- again will be accessible next week when roads are reopened after a wildfire closed them for nearly three weeks.

The park in California announced the closure on July 25 because of impacts from the Ferguson Fire.

Beginning Monday at 9 a.m., the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will reopen to the public.

Yosemite Valley and its features -- including El Capitan, Half Dome and Wawona -- will reopen Tuesday at 9 a.m., according to park spokeswoman Jamie Richards.

Officials advised that visitors should be aware that the Ferguson Fire is still ablaze, so smoke is on the roads and delays are possible. Currently, the northeastern side of the 1,200 square mile park is open to the public, Richards said.

"This is truly a historic and unprecedented event in park history, and we are thrilled to welcome back visitors to Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove," said Superintendent Michael Reynolds in a statement.

The Ferguson Fire is the third-largest fire in California. It has burned more than 95,000 acres as of Friday and is 80% contained. It has lasted more than three weeks and killed two people.

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