Fire Siege Leaves Yosemite Empty of Humans, Filled With Smoke During Peak Summer Season

Mule deer graze in front of the museum in the Yosemite Valley after the park closed on July 25, 2018 due to the Ferguson fire. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Mule deer graze in front of the museum in the Yosemite Valley after the park closed on July 25, 2018 due to the Ferguson fire. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Scott Gediman was explaining how the poolside and patio of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel would usually be full of politicians, dignitaries and others lapping in its luxury when his eyes beheld a sight made possible by smoke and fire.

“Big bear — really big bear,” Gediman whispered excitedly as he scurried through bushes to get a better view.

Near the hotel’s wedding lawn, two male black bears cavorted. A 3-year-old bear climbed into an apple tree and lumbered up a branch for a snack while a 5-year-old bear explored the nearby field for insects and other snacks.

Normally, two male bears wouldn’t be spotted playing together, but park biologists said that since Yosemite Valley closed July 25, bears, deer and other wildlife have been more comfortable walking about the park, enjoying the lack of human beings.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.