Smokejumpers Fighting 2 Wildland Fires in Yellowstone
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2010
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 307-344-2012
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
Smokejumpers Fighting Two Wildland Fires In Yellowstone
West Yellowstone Smokejumpers are at work this afternoon on fires in opposite corners of Yellowstone National Park.
After being quiet for several days, some unburned trees within the control line of the Owl Fire began to smoke and torch late Tuesday afternoon. The Owl Fire is located the northwest corner of the park, east of U.S. Highway 191.
Because under these hot, dry conditions, any interior fire has the potential to produce spot fires outside the control line, Yellowstone called in eight smokejumpers to suppress the fire last evening. Four more smokejumpers parachuted into the fire this morning. This 8-acre spot is burning in the North Fork of the Specimen Creek drainage inside the Owl Fire perimeter.
Smokejumpers are wrapping up efforts on a small fire in the southeast corner of Yellowstone. The Huckleberry Fire was started by lightning on Saturday in the backcountry about 10 miles east of the park’s South Entrance. Smokejumpers, retardant drops from air tankers, and helicopter water bucket drops have all been used to suppress this fire. Smokejumpers have contained the fire to 40 acres.
Northeast of the Huckleberry Fire is the Promontory Complex, which originated with three lightning strikes last Thursday evening. The Promontory is a large peninsula jutting into the southern end of Yellowstone Lake. The Promontory Complex is burning in spruce-fir forest on the northeast section of the peninsula. This fire is now estimated at 1,074 acres. When actively burning, this fire can produce a large smoke column.
To the east of the Promontory Complex is the Beaverdam Fire. It is located in the backcountry east of the Southeast Arm of Yellowstone Lake. This fire was started by lightning on July 22. It has burned actively and advanced to the northeast in recent days. Recent mapping put this fire at 1,226 acres.
The Beaverdam Fire and the Promontory Complex are being actively managed as Wildland Fires Used For Resource Benefit, since they pose no threat to people or property. Firefighters are monitoring these fires on the ground, from lookout towers, and from the air.
Mark Grant’s Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team is directing the firefighting efforts on the Columbine Fire burning near the park’s East Entrance road. The East Entrance road is temporarily closed.
All camping, lodging, restaurants, stores, service stations and visitor centers inside the park and along U.S. Highway 14-16-20 between Cody and the East Entrance remain open and fully operational. With the exception of the East Entrance, all other park entrances and roads remain open. None of the fires in the park pose a threat to visitors.
Yellowstone National Park aggressively works to suppress all human-caused fires and any naturally occurring fires when they threaten people or developed areas.
Some backcountry trails and campsites near the Owl Fire, the Beaverdam Fire, and the Promontory Complex are temporarily closed. Updated information is available by calling the Backcountry Office at (307) 344-2160 during business hours.
There have been eighteen fires in Yellowstone National Park this year. Thirteen were started by lightning; four were human caused; and one was caused by a downed power line. The park averages twenty-two lightning fires a year. Fire restrictions have been in effect in Yellowstone National Park since July 3.
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.