Yosemite to reopen Friday as air quality improves; visitors allowed back in Kings Canyon Wednesday

California
Thick smoke from multiple forest fires shrouds iconic El Capitan, at right, and the granite walls of Yosemite Valley on Sept. 20, 2020. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Thick smoke from multiple forest fires shrouds iconic El Capitan, at right, and the granite walls of Yosemite Valley on Sept. 20, 2020. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Kings Canyon National Park reopened to visitors on Wednesday and Yosemite National Park will welcome back visitors on Friday as air quality improves.

Both parks closed last Thursday due to hazardous air quality created by smoke from the Creek Fire, now the sixth-largest wildfire in state history.

Park officials said air quality is projected to be in the moderate to unhealthy range for sensitive groups over the next few days.

Only some visitor services will be available when Yosemite opens its gates at 9 a.m. Friday, while others will be reinstated in stages throughout the weekend, the park said in a news release.

A spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that some campsites that have been closed all summer will reopen Friday, including Yosemite Valley’s Upper Pines, North Pines and Lower Pines. Campsites can be booked at recreation.gov.

Portions of the park may close if smoke affects the air quality.

The Creek Fire has spread to more than 289,600 acres since sparking Sept. 4, making it the largest single wildfire in state history that wasn’t part of a larger complex. It was 32% contained as of Wednesday afternoon.

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