The Firefall sounds like a sequel to an action movie or fantasy series, but it's a real natural phenomenon that occurs for a few days every February at Yosemite National Park in California, on a rock formation called El Capitan. A waterfall called Horsetail Falls turns bright orange, making it look like lava is tumbling down the side of the monumental rock, and many visitors and photographers have made their way there this week.
"The Horsetail Fall phenomenon appears when the angle of the setting sun sets the waterfall ablaze with reds and oranges, like a fire was falling down the cliffs on the shoulder of El Capitan," explain park workers, according to the BBC. It doesn't always happen – dry weather means no Firefall, which was the case for the past two years. 2016 brought it back!
Manmade "firefalls," as they came to be called, were customary in the area in the late 19th century, when a campfire was pushed over the edge of a cliff so those below would see its spectacular, fiery tumble. It was done annually until 1968, when it was (reasonably) deemed too dangerous. However, almost 100 years after the manmade firefalls began, hikers observed the first natural Firefall in Yosemite , reported CBS Local. Amazing coincidence or cosmic force? You decide.
While you ponder all that, gaze upon the amazing photos of the Firefall captured this year. One of the most-loved photos was taken by photographer Sangeeta Dey. "When the fall started glowing, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. For 10 minutes, all of us sat there mesmerized by this spectacle," said Dey, according to KTLA.