Washburn Fire Blazes Through Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park

A brand-new wildfire started in Yosemite National Park on Thursday afternoon, quickly growing to 10 acres and closing Mariposa Grove indefinitely.

National Park officials took to social media to announce the fire and closure on Thursday evening:

The Washburn Fire is burning near the lower portion of the Mariposa Grove. The fire is about five to eight acres. Firefighters are suppressing the fire from the ground and air. The Mariposa Grove is closed until further notice.

Mariposa Grove is famous for being one of the largest collection of mature trees in the world. The grove’s sequoias are among the largest living things on earth, reaching up to 285 feet tall, with bark more than a foot thick and dating back 2,000 years.

Mariposa Grove has seen its fair share of turmoil over the past few years. In January 2021, a wind storm blasted through Yosemite National Park, toppling the massive trees and destroying buildings and infrastructure in the area. The grove also saw a 3-year closure from 2015 to 2018, where the entire region was upgraded – roads, trails and buildings – as well as four new miles of hiking trails.

Mariposa Grove is one of Yosemite’s original landmarks. On June 30, 1864, while the Civil War still raged, President Lincoln signed a two-paragraph bill that changed America’s landscape forever. Lincoln’s “Yosemite Grant Act” is widely seen as the birth of America’s national park system.

John Muir once called the trees of Mariposa Grove as “nature’s forest masterpiece, and so far as I know, the greatest of living things.”

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