August 23, 2016
Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
Moose, WY—The Berry Fire has forced the temporary closure of U.S. Highway 89/191/287 in Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway between Leeks Marina and the South Gate of Yellowstone National Park. The Grassy Lake Road between Flagg Ranch and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest boundary is also closed. These closures include Lizard Creek Campground and the Headwaters Lodge and Campground at Flagg Ranch, which have been evacuated. The roads are not expected to reopen anytime today, Tuesday, August 23. They will be reopened when fire danger is reduced and hazardous trees have been removed.
Teton Interagency Firefighters have been actively monitoring the lightning-ignited Berry Fire in Grand Teton National Park since July 25, 2016. The fire had grown slowly in the Owl and Berry Creek area on the northwest shore of Jackson Lake until Sunday, August 21 when the fire grew to 1,785 acres. The fire showed extreme fire behavior on Monday, August 22 due to high winds and temperatures and low humidity. At approximately 4:00 p.m., strong winds out of the west carried the fire across Jackson Lake, where it continued for five miles across U.S. Highway 89/191/287 and into the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. As of 8:00 p.m. Monday, the fire is estimated at 6,319 acres.
Due to the fire activity, smoke, and possibility of trees falling on the roadway, the Type 3 Incident Management Team managing the fire closed area roads and evacuated developed areas. To address the fire's recent activity and increased complexity, a Great Basin Type 2 Incident Management Team will take over management of the fire on Wednesday, August 24. Fire managers anticipate that lower than average fuel moistures will continue to drive increased fire activity over the next few days.
The Berry Fire is being closely monitored by both ground and aerial resources. The fire is being managed for multiple objectives including the protection of people and property, enhancement of the area's natural resources where appropriate, and safe and effective utilization of firefighting resources. If the fire threatens important values such as infrastructure, archaeological sites, visitor safety, or critical wildlife habitat, management actions including suppression will be taken to prevent those impacts. The fire may be managed to burn around or by these values at risk while continuing to benefit the ecosystem and long-term forest health if it is safe to do so.
Access to the southern entrance of Yellowstone National Park is not available during this temporary road closure. Displaced guests of Headwaters Lodge and Cabins should contact the normal Headwaters reservation line at 307-543-2861. Facilities at Leeks Marina remain open.