A wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park forced officials to close some areas of the park during peak tourist season.
The National Park Service (NPS) announced on Tuesday that the park’s most popular area, Yosemite Valley, as well as Wawona and Mariposa Grove, will close today, as firefighters work to contain the nearby Ferguson Fire.
The closure, which takes effect at noon, applies to all hotels, campgrounds and visitor services. An estimated 2,000 people were inside the park on Tuesday, officials said, and were required to leave. Visitors will not be allowed back in until at least Sunday, July 29, park officials said.
The summer months are Yosemite’s busiest, with as many as 600,000 people visiting in July alone, according to the NPS.
The Ferguson Fire began July 13 and has spread across 57 square miles of forest west of the park. The fire itself currently poses no immediate danger to Yosemite, but the heavy smoke prompted authorities to act.