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New Fire Burning West of Yellowstone Lake

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Date: September 24, 2009
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, 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 24, 2009     09-091   
Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
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New Fire Burning West Of Yellowstone Lake

There have been two new fires discovered in Yellowstone National Park in the last two days.

The latest is the Arnica Fire.  It is located 5 miles west of the Bridge Bay Campground and the northwest shore of Yellowstone Lake.  The lightning-caused fire is burning in a flat area of mature lodgepole pine forest.  As of late Wednesday afternoon, it was estimated at 4 acres in size and growing slowly.  Firefighters are monitoring the fire and developing management strategies.  This is the 20th fire reported in Yellowstone National Park this year.

The Bridge Bay Campground and Marina have already closed for the season.  The fire is not burning near any hiking trails or backcountry campsites.  At times smoke from the fire is visible from the Mt. Washburn Fire Lookout web cam at http://www.nps.gov/archive/yell/tours/livecams/mtwashburn/index.htm.

The Chaw Pass Fire was discovered Tuesday afternoon.  It is about 3.5 miles east of Pebble Creek Campground, high on a ridge above the Cache Creek drainage.  This fire remains estimated at a half acre.  Its cause remains under investigation. 

Both the Arnica and Chaw Pass fires have the potential to grow in the coming days, due both to their location and to a weather forecast calling for clear skies and daytime highs in the 60s for the next few days.

The Rainbow Fire near Mammoth Hot Springs has put up some smoke and grown slightly since it was started by lightning on September 13.  Current size is estimated at approximately 3 acres.  Sepulcher Mountain Trail has been temporarily closed. 

After exhibiting a major growth spurt earlier this month, the Butte Fire in the Lamar Valley north of Soda Butte has not increased in size in several days.  This lightning-caused fire is estimated at 160 acres.

While all of these fires may produce a visible smoke column at times, none of them pose a threat to visitors or area residents.  All park entrances, roads, and seasonal visitor services remain open; with the exception of the road through Gibbon Canyon between Norris and Madison, which is closed due to construction. 

The Rainbow and Chaw Pass fires may have some limited impact on hiking trails.  Please check with park visitor centers or backcountry offices for the latest information before planning a day hike or overnight trip into areas near these fires.  Visitors can call the Backcountry Office during normal business hours at 307-344-2160.

Yellowstone National Park is a fire-adapted ecosystem.  Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of the area’s wildlife and vegetation.  Most fires occurring in the Greater Yellowstone Area are caused by lightning.   Whenever possible, fires in the park are monitored by firefighters and managed to protect people and property, enhance the area’s natural resources, and effectively use available firefighting resources.  

Fire updates will be issued as conditions warrant.  They will be posted to the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/newsreleases.htm, and will be recorded on the park’s 24-hour fire information line at 307-344-2580.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

Did You Know?

Bison in Yellowstone.

There are more people hurt by bison than by bears each year in Yellowstone. Park regulations state that visitors must stay at least 25 yards away from bison or elk and 100 yards away from bears.