(YOSEMITE, Calif.) — When the sun hits Horsetail Fall waterfall in Yosemite Park just right, it turns the waterfall into a glowing orange “firefall” that attracts photographers from all over the world.
The “firefall” only happens in mid-to-late February when the sun sets to the west of the waterfall at a certain angle, and several conditions have to be perfect for the sun to reflect off the waterfall in a fiery color.
“I know photographers who have been coming out here for 11 years and have only seen it twice,” Sangeeta Dey, one of the photographers who captured the “firefall,” told ABC News Friday.
There also needs to be a lot of snow on the ground, and temperatures need to be on the warmer side for the sun to reflect off the waterfall, National Park Ranger Scott Gediman told ABC News.
The past four years have not had a “firefall” due to a drought, Gediman said, and even when the sun does hit the waterfall, it does not always create the “really vivid orange” color that has been present this year, “making it one of the best years in a while,” according to Gediman.
The “firefall” usually begins around 5:30 p.m., said Dey, who was camped out at the waterfall by 2 p.m. on Monday to make sure she would have a good spot to take photos. “There were people already there at 7 and 8 in the morning,” she said.
More than 200 people gathered at the waterfall for the peak moment on Monday, Dey added.
Hundreds of people come every day hoping to see the “firefall” happen, according to Gediman. The natural phenomena occurs for approximately 10 days in February, but it’s “a little different every day,” and “some days it might not happen at all,” Gediman explained, adding that the peak time for the “firefall” is now.
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