Spectacular photos of Yosemite's 'firefall' optical illusion

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By: Emily Drooby, Buzz60

It's not hot lava, it's an optical illusion!

Every February, Horsetail Fall in Yosemite National Park lights up as if it were on fire.

SEE MORE: Lighting up Yosemite:

11 PHOTOS
Horsetail Fall 'Firefall' Yosemite National Park
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Horsetail Fall 'Firefall' Yosemite National Park
Firefall: This is a picture of the Horse tail waterfall in Yosemite. 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. There are a number of conditions that need to be met to make this happen (enough snow, warm temperatures to melt that snow, and clear skies). I met photographers who said that they have been coming for 11 years only to see this happen 2 or 3 times. When the fall started glowing, I could not believe what I was seeing. 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 where clapping , and others were just ecstatic to finally get a chance to see it after trying for years. #westcoast_exposures #usinterior #visitcalifornia #wildcalifornia_ #lonelyplanet #superhubs #500px #igdaily #ig_today #ig_impulse #ig_exquisite #princely_shotz #jaw_dropping_shots #artofvisuals #natgeoyourshot #igpodium #sfgate #nikon #yourtake #topshelf_shots #abc7now #firefall #rawcalifornia #optoutside #neverstopexploring #nbcbayarea #earthpix #igworldclub #beautifuldestinations #awesomeearth
Another perspective of the Firefall. This is a picture of the Horse tail waterfall in Yosemite. 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. There are a number of conditions that need to be met to make this happen (enough snow, warm temperatures to melt that snow, and clear skies). I met photographers who said that they have been coming for 11 years only to see this happen 2 or 3 times. When the fall started glowing, I could not believe what I was seeing. 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 where clapping , and others were just ecstatic to finally get a chance to see it after trying for years. #westcoast_exposures #usinterior #visitcalifornia #wildcalifornia_ #lonelyplanet #superhubs #500px #igdaily #ig_today #ig_impulse #ig_exquisite #princely_shotz #jaw_dropping_shots #artofvisuals #natgeoyourshot #igpodium #sfgate #nikon #yourtake #topshelf_shots #abc7now #firefall #rawcalifornia #optoutside #neverstopexploring #cnn #earthpix #igworldclub #beautifuldestinations #awesomeearth
Here's a close up (cropped) of the horsetail fall. This was the very tail end of the firefall event. Good luck to all that are chasing it this week. #foxnewschicago #foxnews #foxnewschicagowlfd #abc7newsbayarea #abc7eyewitness #ktvu2 #nbc #rootsrated #sfgate #yourtake #ig_histogram #ig_shotz_february #ig_captures #igtravel #ig_europe #ig_cameras_united #optoutside #firefall #instatravel #nps #bpmag #outdoors #getoutside #naturephotography #nationalparks #beautifuldestinations #lonelyplanet #usinterior #yosemitenps #abc7vista
Wilderness 'Paparazzi' Flock to @YosemiteNPS 'Firefall' https://t.co/oqEn8ZVmWk https://t.co/QIk6iPuElL
Yosemite's jaw-dropping "firefall" is not actually fire, but it's still impressive: https://t.co/eN4jYkCIAm https://t.co/a3DaWVpji7
Bizarre lava-like 'Firefall' returns to Yosemite (PHOTOS) https://t.co/WTOJPDbB7i https://t.co/gLmfKL7UU1
Striking images capture rare #Firefall in Yosemite Park https://t.co/ojcJzXL49z https://t.co/h2EicGD5LP
A rare "firefall" sighting made Yosemite look like a burning orange waterfall this week https://t.co/PI7Jb1B0XO https://t.co/44679TPTJ5
Incredible timelapse captures Yosemite 'firefall' phenomenon https://t.co/2I7HiFfYzI https://t.co/RbI34oQ1lz
Incredible video of "Firefall" phenomenon caused by the sun's angle @YosemiteNPS. More here. https://t.co/4KSczSJhcv https://t.co/WEUjCRnE9Z
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Many people flock to the falls hoping to catch a glimpse of the the phenomenal sight that only appears for 20 days around sunset in February.

It's an incredible illusion that can only happen under perfect circumstances; clear skies, enough rain and sun rays that hit the water just right.

Onlookers this year got a special treat! A National Parks Service Spokesman told CNN that, "the waterfall is bigger than it has been in a long time due to all the rain and snow we have received,"

Want to check out the firefalls? The park suggests heading to the El Capitan picnic area because the waterfall is visible from the road.

If you're lucky enough to see it in person make sure you have your camera ready, because the illusion only lasts about 10 minutes and you wouldn't want to miss such a great Instagram opportunity!

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