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


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Rainbow Fire Update

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Date: September 15, 2009
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
September 15, 2009   09-087
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015

Yellowstone National Park Rainbow Fire Update
Tuesday, September 15 - 4:15 p.m.

Fire Location: Three miles west-northwest of Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, inside the park’s northern boundary, near the Montana/Wyoming state line.

Estimated Size
: 0.5 acres
Started: September 13, 2009
Cause: Lightning

Overview: Lightning from a thunderstorm that moved across the northern portion of Yellowstone National Park Sunday evening, September 13, started a fire on the north facing slope of Sepulcher Mountain, uphill from Rainbow Lake, and below the Sepulcher Mountain Trail.

Last 24 hours: The fire has grown slightly along the ground since its discovery Monday, but remains estimated at a half acre in size. Shorter fall days and cooler nights mean the Rainbow Fire has a decreasing amount of time each day to become active and grow.  

Management Strategy: Most fires occurring in the Greater Yellowstone Area are caused by lightning. Yellowstone National Park is a fire adapted ecosystem. Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of the area’s wildlife and vegetation. Firefighters are monitoring and managing the Rainbow Fire in order to protect people and property, enhance the area’s natural resources, and effectively use available firefighting resources.  

Impacts to visitors and area residents: Public and firefighter safety is always the park’s first concern and priority. The fire is well away from Mammoth Hot Springs, Gardiner, and all roads and visitor services. However, a smoke column or occasional flames from individually burning trees may be visible at times from the park’s North Entrance Road, in the community of Gardiner, and from U.S. Highway 89 north of the park.

All park roads, entrances, and seasonal visitor services are open. As a precaution, rangers have temporarily closed the Sepulcher Mountain Trail. This hiking trail closure does not impact any popular fishing areas or backcountry camp sites. 

Weather Forecast: The National Weather Service forecast for the Mammoth Hot Springs area calls for a chance of showers Tuesday tonight, and then sunny skies on into the weekend, with daytime highs in the 70s and overnight lows in the 40s. The fire danger in Yellowstone National Park is "moderate".  

Fire Season To Date: There have been 17 fires in Yellowstone this summer. Fifteen of the seventeen were started by lightning. The only other fire in the park to grow beyond a half acre in size this summer is the Butte Fire in the Lamar Valley. It has exhibited little activity in the past few days, and its estimated size has been reduced from 200 to 160 acres.

Additional Fire Information: Updates will be issued as conditions warrant, and may not be issued daily. Updates when issued will be posted to the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/newsreleases.htm, and will be recorded on the park’s 24-hour fire information line at 307-344-2580. 

- www.nps.gov/yell -

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