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Yosemite’s Rare Glowing ‘Firefall’ Returns Unexpectedly After Atmospheric River

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

Yosemite’s Rare Glowing ‘Firefall’ Returns Unexpectedly After Atmospheric River

Yosemite National Park’s Horsetail Fall is famous for a rare “firefall” phenomenon in which sunlight hits the water just right to make it look like liquid fire is pouring down the mountain. SFGATE reported that the firefall appeared for a few fleeting moments this week as a result of the atmospheric river. SF-based nature photographer Scott Oller took trip to Yosemite on the chance that the recent rains might reward him with a firefall, and the gamble paid off!

The firefall is known to happen every year from mid to late February, for a few fleeting moments, if the conditions are exactly right. The Horsetail waterfalls take on a glowing, fiery orange color to reflect the setting sun. For this to happen though, the temperatures need to be within a certain range, so that there’s a sufficient amount of snow and water flowing. Additionally, the skies need to be perfectly clear so nothing interferes with the rays of light which makes it quite a rare sight indeed.

Oller told SFGATE that you may still be able to see the unexpected October firefall, although the window for ideal conditions is coming to a close this weekend. In order to get his amazing pictures, Oller only had a fleeting 15-minute window. “For 15 minutes, horsetail fall glowed in fiery hues, framed by foliage of the same colors. It actually happened,” wrote Oller on Instagram.

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If you’re hoping to catch the Yosemite Firefall in February, just make sure to make a reservation at recreation.gov, because park passes during the highly-anticipated event book out months in advance!

 

Featured image: Photo by Cedric Letsch on Unsplash  

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