Yellowstone’s Magpie Fire Continues To Grow
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
A lightning-caused fire continues to burn east of Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park.
A reconnaissance flight Thursday afternoon mapped the fire at 550 acres. It was 335 acres on Wednesday afternoon. Most of the fire growth occurred during active burning Wednesday night. Cooler temperatures and lighter winds led to moderate fire behavior and growth Thursday.
The fire was spotted by fire lookouts Monday evening about 7 miles east of Madison Junction, burning in mature lodgepole forest surrounded by an area burned during the 1988 North Fork Fire. The Magpie Fire is now oblong in shape, about 3 miles long, and burning to the northeast away from roads and developed areas.
The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday calls for continued seasonal temperatures and moderate winds, with showers or thunderstorms possible starting on Sunday. Yellowstone’s fire danger rating remains high.
Firefighters are monitoring the fire’s growth and changing weather conditions on the ground, from the park’s fire lookout towers and by aerial reconnaissance. The Magpie Fire is being managed as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits since it supports one of the park’s fire management goals of allowing natural fires to play their role in the ecosystem and does not threaten any park visitors or property.
There are limited hiking trail closures in the area. No other park services are affected by the fire. Smoke may be present along some park roads. The smoke plume is visible for several miles when the fire is actively burning in the afternoon and evening. The smoke plume may also be seen on the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout web cam at http://www.nps.gov/yell/tours/livecams/mtwashburn/index.htm. A temporary flight restriction has been put in place over the fire so private aircraft won’t impact ongoing fire operations. Details are available on the Federal Aviation Administration web site at http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_6_3430.html.
There have been five wildland fires in Yellowstone this year. Three have been declared out after burning less than an acre each. The Bison Peak fire northeast of Tower Junction is just one-tenth of an acre. No smoke or flame were visible when checked by air Thursday.
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.