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Each year in February, photographers from around the world descend on Yosemite Valley in hopes of snapping a picture of the national park’s “firefall” phenomenon. The rare sight is the result of the setting sun shining on Horsetail Fall in such a way that the waterfall appears to be aflame. “Every year for two weeks in February, the sun sets at a certain angle that illuminates the waterfall in luminescent orange and red making it look like a liquid fire,” wrote photographer Sangeeta Dey on Instagram.

While the possibility of a “firefall” exists annually, the conditions leading up to the two weeks when it can happen have to be ideal for it to actually occur. “I met photographers who said that they have been coming for 11 years only to see this happen 2 or 3 times,” Dey said.

Read More: Watch This Waterfall Flow for the First Time in Centuries

Luckily, finally seeing the “firefall” seems to be well worth the wait.

“When the fall started glowing, I could not believe what I was seeing,” Dey said.

“For 10 minutes, all of us sat there mesmerized by this spectacle. When it ended, a few of us had tears in our eyes, while some were clapping , and others were just ecstatic to finally get a chance to see it after trying for years.”




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Write to Megan McCluskey at

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