Published Jul 18, 2018 at 9:48 AM | Updated at 4:40 PM EDT on Aug 14, 2018
Smoke from a wildfire burning near the west end of Yosemite National Park and Sierra National Forest blanketed some of California's most stunning scenery in smoke as firefighters protected buildings in hot and challenging summer weather conditions.
The Ferguson fire began Friday July 13, 2018, in Mariposa County. As smoke filled the air, some tourists cut their trips to Yosemite National Park short, but others captured unusual photos of hazy skies and well-known natural features shrouded in smoke. On July 24, part of the park was closed, forcing summer tourists to abruptly change plans.
About two weeks later, the park reopened and welcomed visitors back to a California gem. The park draws more than 600,000 visitors during a typical August, according to the National Park Service.
The firefight took a tragic turn with the death of Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney. The 36-year-old died as he used a bulldozer to cut a firebreak and prevent its spread to a nearby community. There have been no reports of damaged or destroyed buildings.
Scroll down for images from Yosemite National Park.