When a fire is burning in Yosemite National Park, the park assesses the impacts from smoke. Using portable and stationary monitors, park scientists can measure how much particulate matter, created from the burning vegetation and other fuels, is in the air. Particulate matter from smoke can impact visibility and affect human health. Over the last few days, air quality in Yosemite has varied from moderate to unhealthy. When air quality is unhealthy, it is recommended to limit strenuous activity outdoors. See current air quality graphs and webcam images here: #Yosemite #YosemiteNationalPark #wildfire #safety #HalfDome

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What was that scurrying over the rocks? High up in the Sierras in Yosemite, it was likely a western fence or sagebrush lizard. These reptiles can survive in the high elevations on the rim of the valley hunting insect prey over and under the granite. They are often found sunning themselves on rocks or hiding beneath. As a "cold-blooded" or ectothermic animal, lizards must constantly be on the move to regulate their body temperature. If you watch closely, you may see the lizard doing "push ups." The male lizards do this to show off their blue bellies to attract females and to claim territory. ​What reptiles or amphibians have you seen while exploring Yosemite?​ #WorldLizardDay#lizard #Yosemite #NationalPark #YosemiteNationalPark #wildlife

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Named by the Whitney Survey in 1863, Unicorn Peak is one of the prominent features encircling Tuolumne Meadows. In naming the peak, Josiah Whitney explains that its unique shape easily gave way to its mythical name. He also adds that "names are frequently given to prominent objects, by parties like ours, for convenience; as where peaks are used for topographical stations. If not named, they would have to be numbered, which would be both awkward and inconvenient." • Have you come up with your own name for recognizable features in the park? Share below!

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Yosemite is very, very busy this year! Arriving to Yosemite National Park by about 9 am will help you avoid traffic delays and trouble finding parking. Avoid driving from noon to 6 pm as congestion typically increases in the afternoon (like this time-lapse taken at 4:30 pm on a Thursday). Better yet, take the YARTS public transportation bus into the park and for worry about parking or traffic!Read more traffic tips on our website: - #Yosemite #NationalPark #YosemiteNationalPark #traffic #HalfDome

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Been to Cook's Meadow? If you've been on a drive through the valley, odds are you've seen it. Named for the Cook family that lived in Yosemite in the late 1800s, Cook's Meadow showcases the diversity of Yosemite's wildlife, plants, and views. ​Next time you are in Yosemite, try thinking like a ranger and practice looking closely. When you slow down and take a look up, down, and all around there's always something to discover. What have you noticed when you look closely at Yosemite? ​... #Yosemite #YosemiteNationalPark #NationalPark #explore #nature #flowers#meadows #butterfly #lizard

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Today was Yosemite's annual apple picking day! Every year the Half Dome Village parking lot is closed for a few hours so rangers and volunteers can pick apples from the trees. In the mid 1800s, European-American settlers planted apple trees around Yosemite Valley to provide fresh produce and cider to the growing number of people drawn to the area. While the orchards were successful for people at the time, today they pose a threat to the park’s black bear population. For one, these apples are not a natural part of the bears’ diet. Additionally, the orchards are located in highly populated and developed areas, attracting bears to places where they are more likely to encounter humans and improperly stored food. By joining together to remove these apples, volunteers helped return bears to their natural habitat and diet. And don’t worry - there is significant natural food available to bears without the presence of apples. Thank you, volunteers, for helping us keep bears wild! - #KeepBearsWild #Yosemite #NationalPark #YosemiteNationalPark #BlackBears #AppleTrees #Volunteers #Bears

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Have you ever sniffed a tree? It sounds like a weird question to ask, but if you've never done it you are missing out on something pretty interesting. Both the ponderosa pine and its higher elevation cousin, the jeffrey pine, have a unique scent that is often described as butterscotch or vanilla. By sticking your nose close to their puzzle piece bark you can get a whiff of this scent yourself. Keep an eye out for a tree with thick red bark and needles 4-6 inches long, stick your nose close and give smelling trees a try. What nature smells do you associate with Yosemite? ​#Yosemite #YosemiteNationalPark #NationalPark #trees #nature

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You may be familiar with Yosemite's Search and Rescue team (SAR) but do you know about Preventative Search and Rescue? As you hike through Yosemite, you may come across our PSAR staff, educating visitors on how to stay safe on the trail, and preventing them from becoming statistics. Check out our PSAR team in action on the Mist Trail today, on the @usinterior snapchat story. Happy trails!

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What happens when a helicopter and an illegal drone collide? One of our helicopter crews had a near miss today and almost found out. Helicopters fly through the park for search and rescues, medical flights, and (especially at this time of year) fire-fighting missions. Pilot and crews depend on visitors like you to keep the skies clear so they can safely do their jobs. Please remember that launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft (model airplanes, quadcopters, drones, etc.) in Yosemite National Park is prohibited at all times. Please call 209/379-1992 if you see a drone in use in Yosemite. #Yosemite #NationalPark #YosemiteNationalPark #Helicopter #FireFighter #Safety #SearchandRescue #YOSAR

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Clouds or smoke? A little of both. Lightning storms have started several small fires in the park this week. Some fires are being actively suppressed while others are being monitored and allowed to burn. By managing fires and allowing some to burn under the right conditions they can naturally reduce fuels (branches, pine needles, pine cones, etc) and ultimately reduce the intensity of future fires. - #Yosemite #NationalPark #YosemiteNationalPark #HalfDome #WildFire #Clouds

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Wondering how the waterfalls are flowing? Yosemite Falls, for example, is still going strong, though with less water than in the spring. Many of Yosemite Valley's waterfalls are ephemeral, or seasonal. In the springtime they are gushing with snowmelt but by the end of summer they are often only a trickle. You can see the difference for yourself with these pictures, one taken in May and the second at the end of July. #Yosemite #NationalPark #YosemiteNationalPark #YosemiteFalls #WaterFall

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