2 Children Killed When Tree Limb Falls on Tent in Yosemite Valley Campground

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Two children were killed when a tree limb fell on their tent while they were sleeping in a campground in Yosemite Valley early Friday, the National Park Service announced.

People picnic on the exposed sandy bottom of Mirror Lake that is normally underwater and used by visitors to photograph reflections of the Half Dome rock monolith at Yosemite National Park in California on June 4, 2015. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

People explore Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park, about a mile from Upper Pines Campground, on June 4, 2015. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The minors were dead when park rangers arrived at Upper Pines Campground, according to a brief news release from Yosemite National Park.

The limb fell from an oak tree about 5 a.m.

“Our thoughts are with the families as they grieve this tragedy,” park Superintendent Don Neubacher said.

The victims’ identities, including their ages and home cities, were not being released.

Largely wooded Upper Pines is a popular 238-site campground near Curry Village. Like most Yosemite campgrounds, it is regularly booked within minutes of reservations becoming available.

A U.S. Forest Service survey released in May estimated that more than 12 million trees in California national forests, and in Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon national parks, had died during the four-year drought, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Yosemite officials did not attribute the tree limb falling in Friday’s deaths to any specific cause.

The park also on Friday announced the temporary closure of Tuolumne Meadows Campground, some 50 driving miles from Yosemite Valley, after two squirrels were found to have died from plague. Crane Flat Campground reopened Friday after an earlier closure following the plague-infection diagnosis of a Los Angeles County child who had camped there.

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