Yellowstone's Columbine Fire Continues Northeast Push
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2012
A fire burning on the east side of Yellowstone National Park continued to grow to the northeast today toward Sylvan Pass and the park’s East Entrance road.
The lightning caused fire started just before dark Thursday evening. Despite the efforts of smokejumpers, an aerial retardant tanker, and helicopter bucket drops first thing Friday morning; the Columbine Fire escaped initial attack and grew to over 1,000 acres in less than a day.
Once again Saturday, fire crews used helicopter bucket drops and retardant drops from tanker planes to slow the advance of the fire. Lighter winds resulted in somewhat less active fire behavior and a slower forward advance up the Columbine Creek drainage than experienced on Friday.A small, six acre spot fire has established itself in the headwaters of the Middle Creek drainage. The Columbine Fire is estimated at 2,500 acres.
A small group of area residents turned out tonight for a public information meeting at the Wapiti School, where fire managers shared the latest information on the current fire situation.
Mark Grant’s Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team takes over the suppression effort Sunday. They’re establishing an Incident Command Post at Fishing Bridge. This will allow Yellowstone National Park staff to focus on other, smaller fires currently burning in the park as well as perform initial attack operations on new fire starts.
While park rangers and firefighters are keeping a close eye on the fire’s potential impact on travel between the East Entrance and Fishing Bridge, all entrances, roads and visitor services in Yellowstone National Park remain open. Road updates are available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
Yellowstone National Park aggressively works to suppress all human-caused fires and any naturally occurring fires when they threaten people or developed areas.
A new fire was discovered Saturday in the backcountry several miles east of the South Entrance. Smoke jumpers and retardant drops from air tankers were called in to suppress the Huckleberry Fire. The three fires comprising the Promontory Complex produced a large smoke column most of the afternoon indicative of active fire behavior. Some smoke was also seen coming from the Beaverdam Fire on Saturday afternoon. No new acreage estimates on these fires were available late Saturday night.
Yellowstone averages 22 lightning caused fires a year. All but five of this year’s eighteen fires have been caused 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, or on the web at http://inciweb.org/incident/920/.
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?
At peak summer levels, 3,500 employees work for Yellowstone National Park concessioners and about 800 work for the National Park Service.