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Rain Quiets Yellowstone's Magpie Fire

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Date: August 2, 2006
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012

Recent rainfall and cool, cloudy weather Tuesday resulted in a quiet day on the Magpie Fire burning in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park.

A temporary weather station recorded 35/100 of an inch of rain just before midnight Monday near the fire. Tuesday’s high temperature in the area of the fire was 58 degrees, with the relative humidity dropping no lower than 32 percent. The cool, damp weather coupled with mostly cloudy skies resulted in no new fire growth. The Magpie Fire remains at 1,123 acres in size.

The forecast calls for slightly warmer temperatures and lower humidity today and Thursday, which is more conducive to fire activity and fire growth. The fire danger in the park remains high. While all visitor services, park entrances and roads are open, some hiking trails near the fire remain closed. There are currently no fire restrictions in effect.  

The moisture content of living and dead trees and plants is still higher in the park than it is at lower elevations where large, fast growing fires have already occurred. Peak fire season typically begins later, lasts for a shorter period, and ends earlier in Yellowstone than it does in surrounding areas.   

Fire managers believe the Magpie Fire has a great deal of potential to grow in size. It is being monitored by aerial reconnaissance, from the park’s three fire lookout towers, and by firefighters on the ground. The Magpie Fire is being managed as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits, since 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.

The Magpie Fire was spotted by fire lookouts the evening of July 17 burning in mature lodgepole pine seven miles northeast of Madison Junction. It is surrounded by an area which was burned in 1988. The only other active fire in the park is the Bison Peak Fire. It has burned an area about a tenth of an acre northeast of Tower Junction.

When actively burning, smoke from the Magpie Fire may pool in low lying areas at times. The web cam on the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout is pointed in the direction of the fire and can be viewed at http://www.nps.gov/yell/tours/livecams/mtwashburn. Updated information is posted to the Wildland Fire section of the park web site at http://www.nps.gov/yell/technical/fire and the InciWeb Incident Information System web site at http://inciweb.org.

Did You Know?

Seventh Cavalry Ensignia Pin.

Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.