August 19, 2016
Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
Moose WY—Teton Interagency Firefighters are actively monitoring a lightning-ignited fire in Grand Teton National Park on the northwest side of Jackson Lake. The Berry Fire, detected on July 25, 2016, is burning in mixture of dead and down fuels and mature conifer forest. The fire is burning on Elk Ridge near Berry and Owl Creeks, approximately one mile west of the northwest shore of Jackson Lake and five miles south of the Grassy Lake Road. The fire, now 617 acres in size, is burning actively with short range spotting and uphill runs. Fire managers anticipate that lower than average fuel moisture combined with hotter and drier weather will continue to drive increased fire activity over the next few days.
The Berry Fire is being managed to accomplish objectives outlined in the Grand Teton Fire Management Plan, which allows naturally ignited fires to burn under specific management guidelines. Wildfire is a very natural and important part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Fire improves the overall landscape health by reducing fuel loading, releasing nutrients back into the soil and creating new habitat for plants and animals when allowed to perform its natural role. Fire has helped shape the environment that park visitors see today and influences the diversity of life found here.
Firefighters established a camp near the fire in order to monitor fire activity and implement management actions as it affects values at risk. A group of firefighters are placing structure protection around the historic Lower Berry Patrol Cabin. Plans are in place to initiate suppression actions if any direct threats to park infrastructure or visitor safety occur. A combination of helicopters and boats will be utilized to monitor this fire and provide food and supplies to firefighters. Presently there approximately 25 firefighters assigned to manage the fire, including both ground resources and support staff.
The following sections of trail are closed in Grand Teton National Park. The Berry Creek Trail from the junction with the Glade Creek Trail travelling generally west to where the trail intersects with Hechtman Creek;and the north/south connector trail between Owl Creek and Berry Creek located on the west edge of Elk Ridge. Travel through these sections of trail is prohibited for public health and safety reasons in support of managing the Berry Creek Fire.
Other trails in the fire area remain open. However, fire conditions can change rapidly and hikers entering the backcountry need to be aware of current conditions and closures in the area. Before entering these areas it is imperative that you be familiar with the trail network in the Owl and Berry Creek drainages and Webb Canyon in order to alter your itinerary should conditions change.
Smoke from the fire may be visible from the east shore of Jackson Lake and along US Highways 89/191/287. During the morning and evening hours, smoke may settle into low areas around park roadways. Drivers should use caution when driving in smoky areas, including turning on headlights and reducing their speed.