April 2013
Prevention 52 fire helmet
Take Action

Embrace your role as a fire preventer:

  • Report fire hazards immediately to your Park Structural Fire Coordinator.
  • Turn off electrical equipment, such as coffee pots and laminators, when not in use.
  • Take fire alarms seriously and respond to alarms according to park guidelines.


NPS Fire Facts

Yosemite National Park recognized the significance of the El Portal Market to the community and arranged for its move to the El Portal Motor Inn (once known as the Special Park Uses Office) for the remainder of the concessionaire's six-year contract. The market still serves the community daily from this location. Travelers can warm themselves by the historic stone fireplace and enjoy one of their well known breakfast sandwiches. 


The Structural Fire Program has developed many resources to help you provide an effective fire prevention program in your park.


Visit our website at:

Regional Structural Fire Staff:
Alaska - Alan Wetzel
Intermountain - Todd Neitzel
Midwest - Kip Schwabe
National Capital - Don Boucher
National Capital Fire Prevention Specialist - Raul Castillo
Northeast - Joe Mazzeo
Northeast Fire Prevention Specialist - Donna Baumgaertner
Pacific West - Curtis Troutt
Southeast - Jim King

For more fire prevention resources go to:

Submit ideas and feedback:
Remembering Our Losses:
The El Portal Market


April 21 marks the fifth anniversary of the loss of the historic El Portal Market in Yosemite National Park due to an electrical fire. Built in 1934, the market was a cornerstone of the El Portal community, serving as a general merchandise store for 74 years, as well as a community meeting place. The store originally greeted visitors traveling by train to Yosemite and was one of El Portal's oldest buildings. The loss of the structure was deeply mourned by locals as well as park employees. 


Photo of the new market. The building where the El Portal Market now resides was renovated with installation of automatic fire alarms and sprinklers monitored by the park emergency communications center.

Losses from fire are preventable.
By learning about significant NPS fires, such as the one at the El Portal Market, we can ensure that with proper fire protection and management we can better protect our nation's heritage; and secure the rich array of cultural resources and historic structures for future generations. Losses are devastating, but, we can learn from them to prevent further tragedy.



Just for You 

To learn more about the loss of the El Portal Market, view the corresponding NPS FlashBack, an educational tool designed to share the lessons learned from significant NPS structural fires.  

Park Structural Fire Coordinators

Conduct annual fire and life safety building inspections to identify potential fire hazards. Once identified in advance, potential hazards can be corrected to help prevent fires.


Park Leadership

Ensure your buildings are protected with properly designed, installed, maintained, and monitored fire protection systems. These systems are the best means for the National Park Service to protect its structures from the effects of fire. Properly designed, installed and maintained fire protection systems assure the quickest means of notification and response to a structure fire incident.

Even though firefighters were on scene at the El Portal Market within seven minutes of the initial fire report, the building was already engulfed in flames and could not be saved. Early notification by an alarm system may have provided a different outcome. 


Prevention 52 begins with you!

Prevention 52 intends to educate and empower all NPS employees to help prevent structural fires.

Prevention 52 provides you with relevant fire prevention messages every week of the year - 52 to be exact.

You have the opportunity every week to make a difference. Don't let historic ashes become your legacy.
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

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