Friday, July 23, 2010
Localized storm cells that built up last Thursday and Friday have started the park's first wildland fires. These are small fires that weren't reported for 2-3 days after ignition. There are two burning just north of the Tuolumne River a few miles from Glen Aulin. They aren't putting up much smoke, are mostly crawling along the ground, and may just creep for a couple months, the way fires have for thousands of years here. A third start occurred near the top of the Snow Creek switchbacks above Tenaya Canyon; this was was contained and extinguished by an NPS fire crew. It wouldn't be summer in the Sierra without a bit of smoke in the air; now we're finally getting started.
Turkey vulture over El Cap Meadow yesterday, and my group got a brief look at a peregrine soaring along the North American Wall. Yosemite Art and Education Center coordinator Aline Allen observed a female common merganser with fuzzy young on her back yesterday near Swinging Bridge. This is a late clutch, or perhaps a second brood.