Smoke from South Fork Fire blankets Yosemite National Park

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Over 1,600 acres have burned, and by Monday afternoon, the smoke was unavoidable on the valley floor. (KFSN)

In a land of craggy peaks and granite domes, it is a view of a different kind that captivated visitors who came to absorb the beauty of Yosemite National Park.

"I know it's beautiful, it looks like a volcano, wouldn't want to be in it though," visitor Dylan Scott said.

Scott has hiked the luscious meadows and gushing falls. But it's these sights, from this perch, that have taken his breath away.

"Being from South Bend, you have nothing like this, it's all wet and humid, you don't have any fires," he said. "To come here and see how far they can go in such a short period of time."

Over 1,600 acres have burned. The bark beetle epidemic and steep terrain are causing severe problems for firefighters. By Monday afternoon, the smoke was unavoidable on the valley floor.

"Today, we were at Glacier Point, and we couldn't see anything based on the smoke there," Cathy Degiulio said. "This is the largest we've seen, what's so interesting is you have this contrasted with the blue skies behind us."

The fire is still about a mile and a half east of Wawona - a safe enough distance for tourists to gawk. That includes Dylan as he waits to head to his next destination.

"I got pictures of it and everything, can't beat it," he said.

Millions of years ago, glaciers sculpted these hills. But tonight, the South Fork Fire will also be leaving its mark for a new wave of tourists about to come.

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