Fire Burning Near Fishing Bridge
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
FIRE BURNING NEAR FISHING BRIDGE
A fire caused by a downed powerline and fanned by gusty afternoon winds, has led to the temporary closure of a section of the Grand Loop Road north of Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.
The fire started in a powerline corridor which runs west of and parallel to the road near LeHardy Rapids, which is along the Yellowstone River about 3 miles north of Fishing Bridge Junction.
Winds have pushed the fire to the east, where it has crossed the Grand Loop Road and subsequently jumped across the Yellowstone River.
As of 4:00 pm, the LeHardy Fire is estimated at 5 to 10 acres. Yellowstone National Park firefighters are on scene with two fire engines and a water tender. Additional firefighting resources have been ordered including smokejumpers, additional engines, and helicopters.
The fire weather forecast for Yellowstone calls for temperatures to drop into the 40s overnight, with increasing humidity and ridge top winds dropping to about 10 miles an hour after midnight. The forecast for Thursday calls for mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s to near 80, relative humidity of 17 to 23 percent, and southwest winds increasing in the afternoon to 10-15 miles an hour.
Wet and snowy conditions delayed the onset of fire season in Yellowstone this year. This is only the third fire of the season. Two fires earlier this year, one human-caused and one lightning-caused, were both just one-tenth of an acre in size.
The LeHardy Fire does not pose a threat to visitors. All park entrances and seasonal visitor services are open. Some backcountry trails and campsites may be impacted by the fire. Updated information is available at all of the park’s Backcountry Offices or by calling 307-344-2160 during business hours.
It is unknown when the road will reopen to travel. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
Conditions in the park are very different this year than they were 20 years ago. In 1988, a dry winter was followed by a wet spring and a hot summer of dry lightning and no rainfall. Decades of successful suppression of both human and naturally caused fires had resulted in a homogenous, dense, mature forest with abundant dead and downed material ripe for a stand-replacement fire.
In comparison, this year a normal, snowy winter has been followed by a cool, wet spring. Due to the 1988 fires and changes in fire management in the ensuing 20 years, this park is now a mosaic of different age class stands of trees with less available fuel and natural barriers to fire spread.
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