Starting at noon Wednesday, large sections of Yosemite National Park will be closed due to a nearby fire, park officials announced Tuesday.
Visitors and employees in Yosemite Valley and Wawona must evacuate by then, as all park hotels, campgrounds, and visitors services will be closed; people with reservations at camp sites and hotels will have their money refunded. The Ferguson Fire has scorched more than 36,000 acres of land southwest of Yosemite, and is just 25 percent contained. Smoke is heavy in Yosemite Valley, and visitors have been warned to "limit activity during the periods of poor air quality."
The park is a popular summer tourist destination, with thousands flocking to see El Capitan and Half Dome. Officials say they hope the park will reopen in four days. Catherine Garcia