Firefighters To Conduct Burnout Operation On Yellowstone's Owl Fire
Contact: Al Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, (307) 344-2012
Firefighters plan to use topography to their advantage as they work to contain the Owl Fire burning in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.
The Owl Fire is burning in mature lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forest in an area east of U.S. Highway 191, north of the Montana/Wyoming state line, and south of Specimen Creek.
Firefighters plan to use Specimen Creek, Specimen Creek Trail, and the west side of the 1988 Fan Fire to build an anchor point northeast of the fire, and then work west to remove unburned fuel from the creek south to the head of the fire.
Smokejumpers from West Yellowstone will join with firefighters from Yellowstone National Park and the Gallatin National Forest to build the line along the creek bottom using drip torches. The fuel further up the hill side will be set on fire using aerial ignition devices dropped from a helicopter. This operation could begin as early as Sunday evening.
A mid-day reconnaissance flight revealed a significant area previously obscured by smoke had not burned as had been thought late last evening. Therefore, the estimated size of the fire has been reduced from 400 to 217 acres. This is the largest of eleven fires which have occurred in the park this year. Seven of the fires have been started by lightning and four were caused by people.
The Owl Fire is burning in the backcountry away from roads and developed areas. It is not a threat to people or property. However, it has the potential to develop a smoke column visible from some park roads and highways. It may also cause a light haze over areas in and near the park, or cause smoke to settle at times in low lying areas.
Yellowstone National Park plans to hold a public meeting Monday evening to update interested community members on the status of the Owl Fire. It will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Center in Gardiner, Montana.
While all visitor services, park entrances, and roads are open; some trails and backcountry campsites in the area near the fire are temporarily closed. Hikers, anglers, backpackers, and stock users planning to go into the northwest corner of the park are encouraged to call the Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 for more information.
Tomorrow’s forecast fire danger for the park is “Very High”. Fire restrictions have been in effect since July 3. The forecast calls for continued hot, dry, weather with the chance of isolated afternoon showers or thunderstorms.
Updated information, maps and digital pictures of the Owl Fire are posted when available on the InciWeb Incident Information System website at http://inciweb.org/incident/855/ and the Yellowstone National Park Wildland Fire Management website at www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm.
- www.nps.gov/yell -