Yellowstone's Owl Fire Now 60 Acres
Contact: Al Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, (307) 344-2012
A small fire burning in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park has grown from 30 to 60 acres in the last twenty-four hours.
The Owl Fire is located north of the Montana/Wyoming State line, south of Specimen Creek, and about three miles east of US Highway 191. The lightning caused fire was discovered Friday afternoon in an old lodgepole forest, west of an area which burned in 1988.
A reconnaissance flight early Saturday afternoon allowed fire managers to estimate the size at 60 acres. Hot afternoon temperatures have resulted in active fire behavior, including individual tree and small group torching, and the ignition of a small spot fire about one-quarter mile ahead of the main fire.
Given the hot dry conditions and the location of the fire, the park is pursuing a confinement and containment suppression strategy. Firefighters on the ground will direct the helicopters to make water bucket drops to slow the fire and direct it to terrain where a containment line can safely be constructed. They are also working to protect the historic Daley Creek patrol cabin. The Gallatin National Forest is providing a helicopter and a seven person initial attack hand crew to join park firefighters and the park contract helicopter already assigned to the fire.
Some trails and backcountry campsites in the area are temporarily closed. Visitors planning to day hike or stay overnight in the backcountry are encouraged to call the Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 for more information.
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 the highway. 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. All visitor services, park entrances, and roads are open.
There have been 11 fires in the park so far this year. Seven have been caused by lightning and four by people.
Most areas of Yellowstone National Park have had little precipitation since early June. A variety of indicators suggest that any fire started by lightning or careless human activity has the potential to grow; especially on hot, dry, windy days. Fire restrictions have been in effect since July 3.
The extended forecast calls for continued hot, dry, weather with the chance of isolated afternoon thunderstorms.
Updated information, maps and digital pictures of the Owl Fire are posted when available on both the InciWeb Incident Information System website at 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 -
Did You Know?
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.