As hundreds of wildfires burn uncontrolled up and down the West Coast, officials were forced to close Yosemite National Park in California because of hazardous air quality. The official U.S. Air Quality Index, which is tracked on Airnow.gov, showed a 681 pollution score for the air in Yosemite Valley. A pollution score of more than 301 is considered hazardous.
Officials said the park will remain closed at least through the weekend.
Most of the smoke is coming from the Creek Fire, which is about 25 miles south of Yosemite Valley and has torched more than 244,756-acres. The fire is just 18% contained as of Friday (September 18) and has destroyed hundreds of buildings. There are also a couple of smaller wildfires burning within the park, which encompasses nearly 1,200 square miles in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The largest is the Blue Jay Fire, which has burned more than 3,100 acres since July.
California officials have also ordered all 18 National Forests in the state to close due to the dangers posed by the wildfires.
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