Rare 'firefall' appears in Yosemite National Park leaves crowds in awe

The firefall only appears in rare weather conditions at Yosemite National Park.
The firefall only appears in rare weather conditions at Yosemite National Park. Photo credit: Yosemite National Park

A natural phenomenon, dubbed the 'firefall', has wowed crowds at Yosemite national park in the US.

The rare occurrence only happens in the second half of February, and only if sunset weather conditions are perfect at the Horsetail Fall, turning the cascading waterfall a brilliant orange hue.

The Californian park says on its website that the fall is small and goes mostly unnoticed, but during the end of February, draws large crowds hoping to see the spectacle.

The website says the brightness of its colour depends on how clear the weather is.

"This unique lighting effect happens only on evenings with a clear sky, when the waterfall is flowing. Even some haze or minor cloudiness can greatly diminish or eliminate the effect."

Californian photographer Vaché Geyoghlian, who captured some shots of the phenomenon on Monday night, told CNN it was the first time he had seen anything like it.

"My reaction was complete amazement. I was overwhelmed with excitement to finally get to see it in person and get some good shots of it, too."

He said he and his friend got to the spot early to be able to capture the perfect shot.

"[We] got to that specific spot at about 2-2:30pm, and we were the first ones there. That didn't last long, as the entire area filled with hundreds of people looking to witness/photograph the 'firefall'."

Others posted to Instagram with their snaps of the glowing fall.

Connor Morris said he travelled for 27 hours "with no sleep to capture Yosemite covered in thick blankets of snow all day and to hopefully capture the firefall at sunset".

"We lucked out and scored an absolute burner!"

The 'firefall' usually only appears for a few days each year, so it may be a bit of a wait before park visitors get another chance to see the phenomenon.