Arnica Fire Update - September 30, 11:00 am
Contact: Tom Kempton, (307) 344-2015
Contact: Stacy Vallie, (307) 344-2012
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
Probable Start Date: September 13, 2009
With the rapid change in weather in Yellowstone National Park to winter-like conditions, the Arnica Fire operations will be considerably downsized today. Fire fighters will be pulling all sprinkler systems and water supply equipment and moving back to Mammoth and the North Entrance.
Rain began at about 6:00 this morning and with cooling temperatures, it has turned to snow. As conditions change, the National Park Service (NPS) is making every effort to safely and rapidly reopen the road between Lake and West Thumb. This will entail removing the fire damaged trees on and along the road that pose a threat to travelers. Heavy equipment will be used to rapidly remove these hazardous trees.
The NPS appreciates the cooperation of the public with the intermittent road closures and will move quickly to return to normal operations as crews work to reopen the road and complete the demobilization of fire operations as soon as possible.
Fire activity will be greatly diminished with the rain and snow, although heavy fuels may continue to smolder.
At the height of the fire, the NPS had 230 personnel protecting housing, lodges and historic park structures in the Lake Village and Bridge Bay areas.
No facilities have closed due to fire activity with the exception of the launching of private water craft from the Bridge Bay Marina. Water craft can still be launched from Grant Village.
The Lake Village area is still accessible from the North, Northeast, and East Entrances, and the Lake Hotel and Lake Lodge are open for business. The Old Faithful area is accessible from the South and West Entrances.
The Elephant Back and Natural Bridge Trails have been closed due to fire activity in these areas. Check at park visitor centers or backcountry offices for the current status of other hiking trails and backcountry campsites in the area.
All entrances are open. As a reminder, the road between Norris and Madison is also closed due to road construction (SEE ATTACHED MAP). Visitors are encouraged to stop at park visitor centers and area chambers of commerce for assistance with trip planning in and around the park.
Winter conditions can temporarily close park roads. Visitors can use the following sources to access up-to-date information: by calling the 24-hour road information line at 307-344-2117, or the fire information line at 307-344-2580 or visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/1901/; http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/newsreleases.htm.
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.