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Annual 'Firefall' Set To Return To Yosemite National Park

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CNN) -- It's that time of year again when Mother Nature plays a magic trick at Yosemite National Park and makes it look like lava is flowing off a cliff.

"Firefall" is the name for the annual phenomenon that creates the illusion at the park in California. It comes to life when the setting sun causes light to hit the waterfall at just the right angle.

You can only see "Firefall" for a short time in February, and it draws hundreds of visitors each night. This year, that's between February 13 and 27.

How it looks varies from year to year and even day to day. It all relies on the weather and how much water is flowing in Horsetail Fall.

Firefall, Horsetail Fall, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley
Horsetail Fall is a small cataract that flows over the edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. For two weeks in February, a setting sun striking the waterfall can produce a deep orange glow. (National Park Service via YouTube)

If you are planning to check out this yearly spectacle, the National Park Service encourages visitors to be prepared for cool weather and bring along a flashlight. If you want that Instagram-worthy image, you might want to visit the park early to claim your spot before the crowds.

Vaché Geyoghlian, a photographer from Fresno, told CNN last year that he arrived around 2 p.m. to get the perfect watching spot.

"That didn't last long as the entire area filled with hundreds of people looking to witness/photograph the 'Firefall,'" said Geyoghlian.

But he added that it is all worth the wait.

"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."

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