Winds Expected To Promote Columbine Fire Growth
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2012
Southwest winds of over 15 miles an hour forecast for later today are expected to cause active fire behavior and cause the Columbine Fire in Yellowstone National Park to grow in size again today.
The lightning caused fire southwest of Sylvan Pass and the park’s East Entrance road started just before dark Thursday evening. West Yellowstone Smokejumpers, an aerial retardant drop, and helicopter water bucket drops were called in first thing Friday morning in hopes of containing the fire. But warm temperatures and high, gusty winds resulted in very active fire behavior. The Columbine Fire escaped their initial attack efforts and by late afternoon had pushed four miles up the Columbine Creek drainage. It grew to over 1,000 acres in less than 24 hours.
Firefighters have resumed their efforts to suppress the fire this morning. They will work to slow the fire’s advance, while more firefighters and equipment arrive to help contain the fire.
All visitor services, park entrances and park roads are open. Road updates are available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
There will be a public meeting this evening to update interested community members on the status of the Columbine Fire. It will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Wapiti School in Wapiti, Wyoming.
A Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team arrives this afternoon. This group of experienced fire managers, led by Incident Commander Mark Grant, will take over the suppression effort Sunday. They will establish an Incident Command Post at Fishing Bridge. This will allow Yellowstone National Park staff to focus efforts on the Beaverdam Fire, the Promontory Fires, and the Owl Fire as well as respond to any new fire starts.
Yellowstone National Park aggressively works to suppress all human-caused fires and any naturally occurring fires when they threaten people or developed areas.
Yellowstone averages 22 lightning started fires a year. Twelve of the seventeen fires which have occurred in the park this year were started by lightning. Fire restrictions have been in effect in Yellowstone National Park since July 3.
Recorded information on the Columbine Fire is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2580. Information will also be posted online at http://inciweb.org when the web site returns to service. Information on Yellowstone National Park’s Wildland Fire Management program on the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm.
- 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.