Yosemite waterfall lights up in rare event

Conditions were perfect for the stunning phenomenon called firewall at Yosemite.
Conditions were perfect for the stunning phenomenon called “firefall” at Yosemite. Photo by Shank0205 used by permission
The last two weeks in February, the Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park lights up, looking as if lava is pouring down the falls.

The occurrence is rare since it can happen only for a short period in February when the sun sets at a certain angle, and weather conditions have to be just right.

Photographer Sangeeta Dey caught the “firefall” on Monday and said some people try for years to catch a glimpse of it.

Firefall:Yesterday, Frank Somerville KTVU shared my photograph of the Firefall phenomenon in Yosemite. Thereafter, NBC…

Posted by Sangeeta Dey Photography on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“I’ve met photographers who said that they have been coming for 11 years only to see this happen two or three times,” Dey wrote on Facebook.

5 years of trying, 8 trips and lots of disappointment finally got it, but that’s not going to stop me from going back

Posted by Kenji Makino on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

She said witnessing the event was incredibly emotional.

“When the fall started glowing, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. For 10 minutes, all of us sat there mesmerized by this spectacle. When it ended, a few of us had tears in our eyes,” she wrote on Facebook.

For decades, a man-made firefall drew hundreds of spectators. A big bonfire was built on the edge of the waterfall and then was pushed over to create a spectacle with glittering embers lighting up the water.

It was discontinued in 1968 because the National Park Service director at the time didn’t think it was appropriate for a national park.

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