YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS SF) – After the Ferguson Fire shut down Yosemite Valley more than two weeks ago, park officials have announced a reopening date.
Officials said the valley will reopen to visitors on Tuesday August 14th at 9 a.m. Park visitors will be able to access the valley from Highways 120 and 140. Meanwhile, the Yosemite Valley will not be accessible from Highway 41, as firefighting efforts continue.
Park officials also announced the reopening of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, which is set for Monday August 13th at 9 a.m.
Much of the park, including Yosemite Valley, has been closed since July 25th as smoke choked the valley and firefighters worked to keep flames away.
The fire, which started in the neighboring Sierra National Forest on July 13th, has burned 149 square miles (95,944 acres) and is 80 percent contained.
Two people have died in the fire and at least 15 others have been injured. Ten structures have been destroyed.
“We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the firefighters and, Incident command teams for their great efforts in suppressing the Ferguson Fire,” park superintendent Michael Reynolds said in a statement. “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.”
Officials stressed to visitors that hours and services at park facilities will initially be limited, as operations return to normal.
Glacier Point Road remains closed and the Hetch Hetchy area is also closed due to smoke.
Meanwhile, officials said a large portion of the park is open, including Tioga Road from Tioga Pass to White Wolf, along with Tuolumne Meadows Campground.