• Steam rises off of the colorful Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Photo courtesy Jacob W. Frank


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Lightning Fire Discovered in Yellowstone's NW Corner

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Date: July 20, 2007
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2012

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

July 20, 2007 07-40
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2010 or 344-2012




Lightning Fire Discovered In Yellowstone’s Northwest Corner

A small fire has been discovered in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.

The Owl Fire is burning in the backcountry just north of the Montana/Wyoming state line, south of Specimen Creek, and about three miles east of US Highway 191. The fire is burning in an old lodgepole forest, west of an area which burned in 1988.

Firefighters observed 20- to 50-foot flame lengths, some torching of trees, and spot fires 50 to 100 yards ahead of the fire this afternoon. The fire is estimated at 20 to 30 acres in size. It was probably started by a lightning strike and smoldered until today’s hot, dry, windy conditions prompted it to grow.

The area is used by hikers, backpackers, anglers and horse groups. Firefighters are focusing their efforts first on human safety by working to ensure that all backcountry users are notified and evacuate the area. Trails in the Specimen Creek drainage are closed, as are backcountry campsites WE1 WE4, WD1, and WD6. Visitors planning to day hike or stay overnight in the backcountry are encouraged to call the Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 for more information.

The Owl Fire is burning in the backcountry away from roads and developed areas. The fire has the potential to develop a smoke column visible from the highway. It may also cause a light haze over portions of the park or cause smoke to settle at times in low lying areas.

All visitor services, park entrances and roads are open.

There have been 11 fires in the park so far this year. Four were caused by people, and seven were the result of lightning strikes.

Most areas of Yellowstone National Park have had little precipitation since early June. A variety of indicators suggest that any fire started by lightning or careless human activity has the potential to grow; especially on hot, dry, windy days. Fire restrictions have been in effect since July 3.

The extended forecast calls for continued hot, dry, weather with the chance of isolated afternoon thunderstorms.

Updated information on fire activity in Yellowstone National Park is posted to the park’s Wildland Fire Management website at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm, and on the InciWeb Incident Information System website at http://inciweb.org.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

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