Press Release

Ferguson Fire Impact in Yosemite

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For Immediate Release
August 9, 2018
Contact: Annie Schuler

San Francisco, CA —Thanks to all of you who continue to inquire about the status of the Ferguson Fire and for your ongoing concern for our staff, students, park partners and fire personnel. 

The fire’s impact on the Yosemite and Mariposa communities has been profound. Over 95,000 acres have burned and containment has now risen to 87 percent.Two firefighters have lost their lives in the battle.  

We can report that all NatureBridge staff and students are safe and accounted for. Tuesday, the mandatory evacuation orders for El Portal were lifted and several staff members have returned home.

In the midst of these challenges, we continue to see signs of incredible resilience.

The new National Environmental Science Center, located on Henness Ridge (near Yosemite West), is currently safe. Fire came within ¼ mile of the campus, but firefighters who have used the site as a staging area and built a defense perimeter that redirected the fire around the campus.

Earlier this week, 40 high school students on our Alcoa Scholars program from around the globe arrived in San Francisco expecting to travel to Yosemite for a two-week backpacking adventure. These students are now at our Olympic National Park campus in Washington, slated to enjoy a similar learning adventure without the threat of fire or smoke. Thank you to these students, their families and our phenomenal staff for their flexibility.

We are proceeding with Yosemite programming for the 2018-2019 school year as scheduled in September. We will know more in the next two weeks as we gain a better sense of containment and air quality. 

Thanks again to those of you who have expressed concern and offered support for our NatureBridge family in Yosemite. Our thoughts are with all of those who have been affected by the devastating fires raging across the state of California.


Founded in 1971, NatureBridge connects young people to the wonder and science of the natural world, igniting self-discovery and inspiring stewardship of our planet.  As the largest residential education partner of the National Park Service, the organization serves more than 35,000 students each year and offers programs in national park locations in California, Washington state and Virginia. For more information, visit