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FIREFALL - A Waterfall That Looks on Fire at Sunset

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Channel: Wonder World
Categories: Environmental   |   Science  
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Firefall is one of Yosemite National Parks most amazing spectacles.

Around the second week of February, the setting sun hits Horsetail Falls at just the right angle, to illuminate the upper reaches of the waterfall, and when conditions are perfect, Horsetail Falls glows orange and red at sunset, giving the illusion its on fire.

As the sun sets, and dips behind the horizon line, everything will begin to go dark and it will seem, for a moment, as if the Firefall has failed to ignite.

But as the last of the sunlight disappears, it will hit and reflect off the falls at the exact right angle, creating a spectacular if short-lived effect, that looks like a beautiful flowing cascade of fluid fire.

The phenomenon known as "Firefall" draws scores of photographers to a spot near Horsetail Fall, which flows down the granite face of the park's famed rock formation, El Capitan.

Firefall got its name from a summer time event, that began in 1872 and continued for almost a century, in which burning hot embers were spilled from the top of Glacier Point, to the valley below, and from a distance it appeared as a glowing waterfall of fire.

The Firefall hot coals event, ended in 1968, when the National Park Service deemed it was a fire hazard.

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