Grand Loop Road Between Fishing Bridge and Mud Volcano (Canyon) Reopens
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Loop Road Between Fishing Bridge And Mud Volcano Reopens
Firefighters in Yellowstone National Park have been able to contain the section of the LeHardy Fire along the west bank of the Yellowstone River.
The Grand Loop Road between Fishing Bridge and Mud Volcano reopened to traffic at noon Friday. Visitors will be required to travel through the area without stopping. There could be temporary traffic delays of up to ten minutes as helicopters continue to fly over the area and drop water on the fire.
The fire started in a powerline corridor west of the road Wednesday afternoon. Gusty winds quickly pushed the fire east across the road and the Yellowstone River.
Some backcountry trails remain temporarily closed. Updated information is available at all of the park’s Backcountry Offices or by calling 307-344-2160 during business hours. The section of the Yellowstone River within the fire perimeter is temporarily closed to fishing.
The LeHardy Fire does not pose a threat to visitors. The fire is burning to the northeast and away from the Grand Loop Road and the Fishing Bridge area. The fire, now estimated at 505 acres, is in a mature lodgepole pine and spruce/fir forest.
There is a Red Flag Warning in effect for Yellowstone National Park until 8:00 p.m. A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when hot temperatures, gusty winds and low humidity are forecast, which could result in active fire behavior and fire growth.
This is the third fire in Yellowstone National Park this season. The other fires were just one-tenth of an acre in size each.
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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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.