• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park


    National Park ID,MT,WY

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  • Craig Pass Closed for the Season; Mammoth to Norris Closed Sept. 14-30

    The road linking West Thumb and Old Faithful is closed for the season—traffic should detour through West Thumb, Lake, and Canyon. The road from Mammoth to Norris is closed for two weeks—traffic should detour over Dunraven Pass. More »

Fire Lookouts

The Yellowstone fire Management Operation maintains a system of three fire lookout stations. There are two additional stations that can be activated in the event of high fire danger or fire monitoring needs. All are located on mountaintops. There are no towers in the park. The three main lookouts are Mt. Washburn, Mt. Holmes, and Mt. Sheridan. Each of the three stations is manned from late June through the first snows of mid-September.

Mt. Washburn is the only lookout accessible by vehicle. It's located in the north central portion of the park and sits at an elevation of 10,243 feet. Mt. Holmes and Mt. Sheridan are supported logistically by pack animals and helicopter. Supplies and water are delivered twice each month for the duration of the fire season. Mt. Sheridan is in the south central portion of the park and is 10,308 feet high. Mt. Holmes is in the northwest quadrant of the park and is 10,336 feet high.

The lookouts serve two primary functions. The first is fire detection. Each lookout is a trained firefighter. They are provided with cell phones, radios and high quality optical equipment. In addition each station has a conventional fire finder, a sighting device used to calculate azimuth and range. The park experiences about 22 fire starts each season from lightning and an additional 6 to 10 that are human caused. The second function is to monitor fires that are allowed to burn for resource benefit. It isn't practical, cost efficient, or environmentally desirable to suppress all fires. The lookouts play a key role in supporting this aspect of the fire management program.

Did You Know?

Upper Geyser Basin Hydrothermal Features on a Winter Day.

Yellowstone contains approximately one-half of the world’s hydrothermal features. There are over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including over 300 geysers, in the park.