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Butte Fire Update - 9 September

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Date: September 9, 2009
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307-344-2015

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
   
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2009    09-077
(307) 344-2015

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
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Butte Fire Update
Wednesday, September 9 - 11:30 a.m.

Fire Location: East of the Lamar Ranger Station - Buffalo Ranch and north of the Northeast Entrance Road on Druid Peak, 16 miles southwest of Cooke City, Montana.

Estimated Size: 200 acres         
Started: August 30, 2009           
Cause: Lightning

Overview: Lightning from a thunderstorm which moved across the northern portion of Yellowstone National Park on Sunday evening, August 30, starting five small fires. The Butte Fire, which started in Whitebark pine beneath the summit of Druid Peak north of Soda Butte, remained small and quiet for several days. Changing weather conditions on Wednesday, September 2, resulted in increased fire activity and fire growth. There have been seventeen reported fires in Yellowstone National Park this summer. Fifteen of the seventeen fires were caused by lightning.  So far, all except the Butte Fire have been less than a half acre in size.

Last 24 hours and today’s expectation: Sunny skies and warmer temperatures caused the fire to puff up more smoke late Tuesday afternoon. With warmer daytime temperatures and lower humidity on Wednesday the fire is expected to be more active than in the previous days. It may occasionally torch pockets of trees and brush putting up additional smoke and making flames more visible. As it continues to move around Druid Mountain and into the Trout Creek drainage, it will be more visible to the Pebble Creek Campground. However, it still remains above and well away from the Trout Creek trail and Northeast Entrance road. Some smoke may linger in the valleys over night.  

Management Strategy:  Most fires occurring in the Greater Yellowstone Area are caused by lightning. Yellowstone National Park is a fire adapted ecosystem where fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of the area’s wildlife and vegetation. Firefighters continue to monitor the Butte Fire by air, from the ground, and from the Mt. Washburn Fire Lookout. The Butte Fire is being managed in order to protect people and property, enhance the area’s natural resources, and effectively use available firefighting resources.  

Impacts to visitors and area residents: Public and firefighter safety is always the park’s first concern and priority. The Butte Fire poses no threat to visitors or area residents.   Smoke and flames may be visible at times from along the Northeast Entrance road. If temperatures warm and the humidity drops, winds may carry smoke northeast into the Pebble Creek Campground, and into the communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City. Smoke may also settle overnight in river and creek drainages and along the valley floor.

Park Status: All park entrances and seasonal visitor services are open.   There are no roads, trails, or campgrounds closed in connection with the Butte Fire. 

Weather Forecast: The fire danger in Yellowstone National Park remains Moderate”. The National Weather Service forecast calls for sunny skies, with warmer temperatures Tuesday bringing the high into the upper 60’s and lower 70’s. West winds are expected around 10 mph. Tonight: Mostly clear skies will continue with a lows around 42 degrees F with West northwest wind between 3 and 10 mph. Additional Fire Information:  Updated information including photos and maps (when available) are posted to the web at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/1881. Updates are also available by calling the park’s 24-hour fire information line at 307-344-2580. At times the fire is also visible from the Mt. Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cam at http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/tours/livecams/mtwashburn/index.htm.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

Did You Know?

Summer Crowd at Old Faithful.

At peak summer levels, 3,500 employees work for Yellowstone National Park concessioners and about 800 work for the National Park Service.