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Yellowstone Fire Update: August 27, 2011

Heart Complex Fire Map
Map of the Heart Complex Fires as of August 27, 2011
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News Release Date: August 27, 2011

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
   
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2011   11-088a    
Al Nash or Dan Hottle (307) 344-2015

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK FIRE UPDATE
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Heart Complex Update: August 27, 2011 - 2:00 p.m.

Recent thunderstorms packed with lightning added a sixth small fire to the five currently being managed in Yellowstone National Park since August 25 as the Heart Complex.

The 0.1-acre Prospect Fire, located one mile southwest of Tower Village, was discovered yesterday afternoon. It will be suppressed today using three Yellowstone wildland firefighters supported by helicopter bucket work because of its proximity to the developed Tower Village concessioner and campground areas, the continuous fuels available in the area and the prevailing southwest winds over the fire.

All five Heart Complex fires are small lightning caused fires burning in the backcountry areas of the park with varying degrees of behavior and growth potential. All but one are approximately one-tenth of an acre or less and all are being managed under a Type 3 organization to allow natural processes to occur to enhance the area's natural resources, to protect people and property, and to effectively use available firefighting resources.

Heart Fire. 0.1 acres. Burning one mile to the east of the Heart Lake patrol cabin and a half mile north of Heart Lake and the Continental Divide Trail. Minimal growth and activity today, and moderate potential for growth toward Yellowstone Lake through a mix of fire scars from the past 30 years. Previous plans for structural protection of the patrol cabin have been suspended due to the limited activity of this fire.

Sour Fire. 0.1 acres. Burning in a single tree along the Wapiti Lake Trail east of Canyon Village on the Mirror Plateau. Fire managers will continually reassess the need for trail and campground closures in proximity to this fire. Temporarily closures are already in place in some nearby backcountry campsites and trail segments.

Point Fire. 0.1 acres. Burning in one rotting log surrounded by green fuels on the eastern shore of Yellowstone Lake near the Thorofare Trail between Park Point and Elk Point. Low potential for growth while adjacent herbaceous fuels remain green. The area to the east of this fire is dominated by extensive fire history less than 10 years old.

Huckleberry Fire. 0.1 acres. Burning south of the Snake River and South Boundary Trail two miles from the southern boundary of the park in heavy downed and dead lodgepole pine. Minimal growth and activity today. Moderate to high potential for growth with potential to reach the Teton Wilderness outside the park before the fire season ending event. Because of its proximity to the park's South Entrance, a smoke column may be visible from the entrance road.

Gibbon Fire. 6 to 10 acres, burning since July 12th approximately three miles southeast of Madison Junction in mature and regenerated lodgepole pine. Protection measures continue today including the placement of pumps and sprinklers along a power line easement located one mile to the north of the fire. An updated perimeter map and on-site fuel samples are also being collected today. A small smoke column may be visible along the Grand Loop Road between Madison Junction and Gibbon Falls.

In the past 24 hours, more than 660 lightning strikes have been recorded within the park. An unnamed fire reported August 25 on the Pitchstone Plateau in the southwest corner of the park has not been located. Crews will continue to fly the area over the next few days to try and locate it.

The fire danger rating in Yellowstone is currently "Very High." Visitors are encouraged to be careful with campfires, grills, camp stoves and smoking materials. There have been 14 fires reported in Yellowstone this year. 

Other than limited temporary closures of some backcountry campsites and hiking trails, all park entrances, roads and services are open. None of these fires pose a threat to park visitors. 

The latest information on backcountry access is available by contacting Backcountry Offices throughout the park or by calling 307-344-2160 during normal business hours, seven days a week. When actively burning, smoke from any of these fires may be visible from park roadways. Updated information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2580, or on the web at http://www.inciweb.org/unit/5382/.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

Did You Know?

Lake Trout Illustration

Lake trout are an invasive species of fish that is decimating the native cutthroat trout population in Yellowstone Lake.