Slight Growth in Magpie Fire Friday
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
Warmer, drier, windy weather Friday provided the right conditions for the Magpie Fire in Yellowstone to increase slightly in size.
A weather station deployed ahead of the fire recorded wind gusts over 30 miles per hour Friday afternoon. The mercury in the area broke 80 degrees, and the relative humidity dipped as low as 11-percent. The fire is now estimated at 815 acres. That’s up just ten acres from last weekend. An afternoon over flight Friday confirmed the most active portion of the fire is the southwest corner.
The forecast for Saturday afternoon and Sunday calls for a slight chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms both days. Highs today could reach into the upper 80s, with a slight cooling trend forecast for the coming days.
The fire was spotted burning in mature lodgepole pine 7 miles northeast of Madison Junction by fire lookouts on the evening of July 17. It is surrounded by an area which was burned by the North Fork Fire of 1988.
Despite limited recent activity, fire managers believe the Magpie Fire has a great deal of potential to grow in size. They will continue to monitor the fire on the ground, from the park’s three fire lookouts, and by aerial reconnaissance.
Firefighters on Friday also hiked in to the only other fire currently active in the park. The Bison Peak fire northeast of Tower Junction is smoldering in a dead log and some needles on the ground in an area shaded by Douglas fir, spruce and sub alpine fir. It has burned an area less than 300 square yards in size.
All visitor services, park entrances and roads are open. There are no fire restrictions in effect in Yellowstone National Park. Some hiking trails near the fire remain closed, and a temporary flight restriction continues over the fire.
The Magpie Fire is being managed as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits. It supports the park’s goal of allowing natural fires to play their role in the ecosystem when they do not threaten any park visitors or property.
When actively burning, the Magpie Fire can produce smoke visible from or along nearby roads and developed areas. Virtual visitors can also monitor the fire in real-time by going online and looking at the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cam at http://www.nps.gov/yell/tours/livecams/mtwashburn.
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.