On October 7th around 2:30pm, a wildfire was reported in the Western portion of Yosemite National Park on El Portal Road between the park boundary near Yosemite View Lodge and the Arch Rock Entrance. Spreading quickly, the Dog Rock Fire had reached 130 acres in the first day. By Wednesday, the fire had nearly doubled, measured at 250 acres with limited containment. Yesterday one of the heroic firefighter pilots battling the blaze, Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt of San Jose, was killed when his tanker crashed. Because of this, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has grounded all airtankers of this kind (as part of standard safety protocols), and the suppression of the fire has been limited. “With great sadness, the Yosemite National Park community would like to express its deepest condolences to CAL FIRE for the loss of pilot, Geoffrey “Craig” Hunt. Yesterday, Craig lost his life fighting the Dog Rock Fire,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite National Park Superintendent. “He died serving and protecting the public from wildland fire. As members of the wildland firefighting community, we also mourn his loss and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.” (read full update from NPS here) The community of Foresta has been evacuated, and a portion of Highway 140 remains closed. According to the National Park Service website, “El Portal Road is temporarily closed to all through traffic from the park boundary near Yosemite View Lodge from the west and at the junction of the El Portal and Big Oak Flat Roads from the east.” What does this mean for our Yosemite National Park tours? We’re certainly being affected by the road closures, but ALL TOURS ARE DEPARTING AS SCHEDULED. Our tours are taking an alternate route in/out of the park, and we’ve relocated some of our hotel and campsite reservations to areas of the park less affected by the smoke and road closures. The safety of our guests is paramount, and we will be keeping a close eye on the fire’s progression to make sure there is no danger (and minimal inconvenience) during this time. Roads to the Giant Sequoia groves and Glacier Point are not affected, and all itinerary items should proceed as planned, with only accommodation changes expected. For up-to-date information about the fire and any closures in Yosemite, check the park’s Current Conditions page. If you have any questions for us about your tour, you can Contact Us directly and we’ll be happy to assist you.