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Yosemite closing due to 'hazardous' air quality from smoke

Yosemite closing due to 'hazardous' air quality from smoke
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Yosemite National Park will close Thursday night due to hazardous air quality as wildfires continue to rage across the West Coast.

The California national park will close to all visitors and vehicles at 5 p.m. Thursday. Park officials said in a Thursday statement that they expect it to be closed at least through the weekend “[w]ith air quality projected to be in the unhealthy to hazardous range over the next several days.”

“The park will continue to assess the smoke impacts, air quality index, and fire activity throughout the region. Yosemite National Park will reopen to visitors when conditions improve, and it is safe for visitors and employees to be in Yosemite National Park,” the park said in the statement.

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Park officials said the move is in alignment with closures in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, in addition to surrounding national forests. 

Recent wildfires in California have displaced thousands of residents and caused dangerous air quality conditions across the state. CalFire reported Thursday that more than 17,400 firefighters are battling 26 major and three extended wildfires in the state. 

Since fires in California spiked last month, there have been 25 deaths and about 5,400 structures destroyed.