A large machine, called a masticator, in a lodgepole forest
A masticator mulching dead and down woody debris near the West Entrance of the park.

Did you know Yellowstone actively works to protect nearly 2,000 structures in the park from fire by creating defensible spaces? One of the new tools we're using in this fight is called a "masticator." This machine changes a forest's fuel load by thinning out standing trees and mulching dead and down woody debris. In a recent project near West Yellowstone, one masticator treated 60 acres of dense lodgepole regrowth in three weeks.

"The opportunity to use the masticator in place of chainsaws allowed us to complete this defensible space project at a fraction of the time and cost. We're finally gaining some ground, and this project represents the future of fuels management in the developed areas at Yellowstone." - Fire Management Officer John Cataldo

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Last updated: September 24, 2020

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