Lightning Starts New Fires In Yellowstone's Southeast Corner
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2010
Four new fires are near Yellowstone Lake were discovered late Thursday after a thunderstorm passed over the area.
One lightning caused fire was discovered in the Columbine Creek drainage, 7 miles southwest of Sylvan Pass. Because of the fire’s location, fuel conditions, and topography, the park called in West Yellowstone Smokejumpers this morning to start containment efforts on the Columbine 2 Fire. This fire is actively burning and by late morning was estimated at 20 acres.
Lightning strikes also started three small fires on The Promontory, a large peninsula jutting into the southern end of Yellowstone Lake. The peninsula, covered with a mature lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forest, is surrounded by water. The three Promontory Fires will be actively managed together as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefit, since the fire is good for the ecosystem an poses no threat to people or property. Each of the fires is currently estimated at one-tenth of an acre.
The Beaverdam Fire has been burning in deep in the backcountry south and east of the new fire starts since July 22. Cooler weather and occasional rain has kept fire activity low in recent days. Firefighters continue to staff the fire on the ground and monitor its activity from fire lookouts and from the air. It remains estimated at 748 acres.
The Owl Fire in the park’s northwest corner is now considered to be over 90 percent contained. Park firefighters continue to reinforce, mop up and patrol the fire line. There are some unburned trees inside the perimeter of the Owl Fire.
Any of these fires has the potential to produce a smoke column visible for several miles on hot, dry, windy days. Most of the smoke and haze currently visible at times in other areas of the park is due to several large fires burning north and west of Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park aggressively works to put out all human-caused fires and any naturally occurring fires when they threaten people or developed areas.
There have now been 17 fires in Yellowstone National Park this year. Fire restrictions have been in effect in Yellowstone National Park since July 3.
All visitor services, park entrances and park roads are open. Several backcountry campsites along the lakeshore on The Promontory are temporarily closed. Some temporary trail and backcountry campsite closures remain in effect near the Owl Fire. Updated information is available by calling the Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 during business hours.
Information on Yellowstone National Park’s Wildland Fire Management program is available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm. Information on many of the park’s individual fires is also updated at http://inciweb.org.
- www.nps.gov/yell -
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.