Yosemite hikers: 5,000 staff to help with Memorial Day weekend traffic jams

Wildfires forced major road closures in parts of California Yosemite hikers: 5,000 staff to help with Memorial Day weekend traffic jams Many people planning to visit Yosemite National Park are being urged to make…

Yosemite hikers: 5,000 staff to help with Memorial Day weekend traffic jams

Wildfires forced major road closures in parts of California

Yosemite hikers: 5,000 staff to help with Memorial Day weekend traffic jams

Many people planning to visit Yosemite National Park are being urged to make reservations before the busy Memorial Day weekend as it was revealed that park staff have put more than 5,000 on duty to help with the record-low numbers that normally flood the park.

Heavy rains that blew down the San Francisco Bay Area this past weekend and dumped inches of snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains helped replenish reservoirs that feed the national park’s main source of water, and Sierra Nevada snowpack, which supplies much of the state, reached 114% of its historical average on Tuesday.

Last month, California’s reservoirs were less than half full and the snowpack was at nearly record lows. However, the snow and rain this past weekend have provided some measure of relief.

“It’s tremendous,” George Kostyrko, general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, said of the snow and rainfall. “We’re thrilled to see it.”

The public utility, which has a water supply contract with Yosemite National Park, provides water to more than three million people in San Francisco and in the San Francisco Bay area.

The Snow Survey for Sierra Nevada snowpack shows 114% of historical average. This is good news after the snowpack hit historic lows early this year, and with more rain and snow on the way to California. The prospect of greater water levels in reservoirs in coming months is, in turn, good news for California’s dying agriculture industry, a mainstay of the state’s economy. — SMWRD (@SMWRCD) May 15, 2018

Massive blazes forced hundreds of people from their homes across California last week as the cost of battling the massive blaze in the Carr fire destroyed more than a dozen homes in Shasta County. Fire crews from as far away as Oregon have joined the more than 11,000 firefighters working to contain that fire, which has burned about 260,000 acres (112,600 hectares).

In Sonoma County, outside San Francisco, residents who fled last week’s massive wildfire said the delay in rebuilding destroyed communities and rendering safety conditions suitable to begin rebuilding is unacceptable.

At the Big Cat Games in San Francisco, about 40,000 people poured through Golden Gate Park this weekend for the third annual event. Organisers at the on-the-move show are concerned about the damage of the weekends storms and urged spectators and the public to donate money to wildfire relief efforts.

Red Cross spokeswoman Christina Moran said teams of volunteers are currently on site ready to provide aid to the evacuation zone, particularly to homeless people who’ve been living without roofs over their heads for months.

“Many of those people have been unable to use their toilets for the last two weeks,” Moran said. “So we’re taking on that work to get the place back up and running.”

Drone footage of the Carr fire shows the devastation caused to the smoke-filled countryside in California.

The 900-hectare (2,200-acre) fire has killed eight people, destroyed 1,500 homes and rendered an additional 1,400 uninhabitable, authorities said.

Representatives from the Solano County Sherriff’s Office declined to comment on whether the air quality will be unhealthy for smoke-exposed residents in Solano County, which includes Vacaville and West Sacramento.

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