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Antelope Fire Update, Mon. Sept. 20; 10 AM

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Date: September 20, 2010
Contact: Al Nash, 406-581-9030
Contact: Traci Weaver, 307-690-1128

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
   
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 20, 2010 @ 10:00 am      10-107F

Traci Weaver (Cell) 307-690-1128
Al Nash (Cell) 406-581-9030

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK FIRE UPDATE
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September 20, 2010 – 10:00 am        

ANTELOPE FIRE

Reported:  Tuesday afternoon, September 14, 2010
Location:    Southeast of Tower Fall and west of the Yellowstone River
Cause:        Lightning
Current Size: Estimated at 1600 acres – 5 percent contained

Overview:

The Antelope Fire was discovered Tuesday afternoon, September 14, by the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout. A lightning strike started the fire in an area of sage and grass on the northeast slope of Mount Washburn, between Antelope Creek and the Yellowstone River. Winds have pushed the fire upslope to the north and east into an area of Lodgepole pine in an area burned by the North Fork Fire in 1988.

Sunday’s Activities:

The Antelope Fire became very active and grew significantly Sunday due to gusty winds, low humidity and unseasonably warm temperatures. By midday, the fire had moved across a fire line which had been built on the north flank of the fire. An air tanker, several additional engines, and more firefighters were brought in to help stop the fire’s northwest spread by putting in a new control line and a hose lay. The Tower General Store and Tower Fall Campground were put on pre-evacuation notice as a precaution late Sunday afternoon. A section of road between Tower Fall and Canyon experienced several temporary closures due to firefighting efforts, and was closed for the night at 8:00 p.m. By evening, the fire was halted at one quarter mile from a section of the Grand Loop Road south of Tower Fall. Three engines and crews remained on the fire overnight to reinforce the new control line. They observed active fire behavior overnight. Monday morning, the fire was estimated at 1600 acres.

Monday’s Weather Forecast:

Cooler temperatures, higher humidity, and a chance of rain are forecast for the fire area for Monday. However, gusty southwest winds are also expected.

Monday’s Strategies:

Firefighters on the ground will continue to reinforce the new control line on the northwest flank of the fire, supported by helicopters and air tankers. They are also using chain saws to reduce the chance of the fire moving west across Antelope Creek and closer to the road. Structural firefighters and engines will remain at the Tower Fall area as a precautionary measure. Two air tankers, one Type 2 helicopter, one Type 3 helicopter, eleven fire engines, several West Yellowstone Smokejumpers, two squads of firefighters from Yellowstone National Park, and one 20-person firefighting hand crew from Missouri are among 80 people assigned to the fire.

Park Impacts:

The road between Tower Fall and Canyon was closed at 8:00 p.m. Sunday night due to visitor and firefighter safety concerns. As of 11:00 a.m., the road from Canyon to Chittenden Road is scheduled to reopen to visitors. The road between Chittenden Road and Tower Fall will remain temporarily closed to visitors until further notice. No park entrances are closed. No lodging, campgrounds, or other visitor facilities are closed.

Yellowstone National Park is a fire adaptedecosystem. Like the Antelope Fire, most fires occurring in Yellowstone are caused by lightning. Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of the area’s wildlife habitat and vegetation. The Antelope Fire is being managed both to protect people and property and to enhance the area’s natural resources by safely and effectively using available firefighting resources. The Antelope Fire is the largest of the 11 fires that have occurred in Yellowstone this year.

Updated Information:

Updated road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117. When actively burning, smoke from the fire is visible along a large section of the Northeast Entrance road, and from Tower Junction to Dunraven Pass. It can also be viewed on the Mt. Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cam at http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm. Fire updates are available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2580, or on the web at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2128/.

- 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.