Yellowstone Fire Update

2013_08_18-[1]Alum Fire: The Alum Fire burned less actively Monday compared to the weekend. Absent was the towering afternoon smoke column which developed both Saturday and Sunday. It grew by about 500 acres and the fire perimeter is now estimated to cover 4,500 acres.

Due to concerns for public safety arising from increased activity on the Alum Fire, a portion of the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park has been temporarily closed.

A seven and a half mile section of road is closed from Fishing Bridge Junction to the north past Mud Volcano to the Elk Antler Creek pull-out, which is in the south end of Hayden Valley.

During this temporary closure, all travel between Canyon Junction and the Fishing Bridge, Lake Village and Bridge Bay area requires a long detour through Old Faithful.

All other roads in Yellowstone are open, as are all park entrances, lodging, stores, campgrounds and other visitor services.

It is unknown how long this section of the road will be temporarily closed to travel.

Mud Volcano, LeHardy Rapids, and several picnic areas and pullouts, as well as some backcountry trails in the area are temporarily closed.

More firefighting personnel and equipment are arriving daily, with an estimated 150 fire personnel expected to be on hand in Yellowstone by Tuesday evening. Multiple structural and wildland fire engines and portable pumps and hoses are now located in the Lake, Fishing Bridge, and Bridge Bay area.

Fire mangers continue focus on protection of the road corridor, the boardwalk in Mud Volcano, and on structure protection efforts in Fishing Bridge, Lake Village, and Bridge Bay.

While area evacuations are not imminent, preparations are underway to assist residents and visitors in leaving the Fishing Bridge, Lake Village, and Bridge Bay area in the event that an evacuation is necessary in the coming days.

This lightning caused fire was discovered in the backcountry west of Mud Volcano on Wednesday, August 14. (The fire name is pronounced AL-umm, not ah-LUM).

Alder FireAlder Fire: The Alder Fire burned actively Monday afternoon, moving northward all the way to the north and west shoreline of Yellowstone Lake. It is now estimated to cover 3,000 acres. This fire is on a peninsula at the south end of the lake and is therefore hemmed in by water on three sides and by a recently burned area to the south. All backcountry campsites on The Promontory have been temporarily closed. This lightning caused fire was discovered on August 14.

2013_08_17-[1]Druid Fire: This fire grew to the west on Monday, but remains high above the Northeast Entrance road on Druid Peak. It is now estimated at 100 acres and is situated on the north side of the peak. This fire was started by lightning and was discovered on Friday, August 9.

Other Fires: The Passage Fire was discovered Thursday at the south end of Yellowstone Lake. This lightning caused fire remains quiet and is just half an acre in size. A little smoke was again seen on the Snake Fire, located three miles east of the South Entrance along the boundary with the Bridger-Teton National Forest. It remains estimated at 200 acres. At times some of the park fires are visible on the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cams

Weather: Some clouds, slightly cooler temperatures and slightly higher afternoon relative humidity are forecast for Yellowstone for Tuesday. There is a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms, mainly to the south and east of the park, which could bring some gusty winds over the fires.

Impacts to visitors and area residents: All roads leading into and through the park and the surrounding forest and all campgrounds, lodging, stores, and visitor services are open. Updated park road information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.

Additional information: Maps, photos, and update information can be found on the web at You can also follow us on Twitter @YellowstoneNPS. The next fire update will be prepared and distributed by Noon Wednesday, August 21.

Fire Update – Yellowstone National Park

Alder-fire-looking-east-8_16[1]Summary: Five lightning caused fires continue to burn in the backcountry of Yellowstone Park. Both the Druid and Alder Fires have grown under the recent warm dry weather and are visible from several vantage points in the park. Fire managers are monitoring all of the fires to address public and firefighter safety, and for the protection of structures, communities, and natural and historic resources. Smoke drifting over Yellowstone is primarily from fires in Southwestern Montana and Idaho.

Druid Fire: Friday’s warm dry weather caused the Druid Fire to again increase in size to approximately 30 acres. The growth was to the east and northeast, where it runs into an area burned in 2009. It remains in a steep heavily timbered bowl in the backcountry high above the Northeast Entrance Road on Druid Peak. The lightning caused fire was reported on August 9th. Favorable weather conditions Saturday will most likely increase fire behavior and visitors may see smoke from several vantage points in the park.

Alder Fire: Friday the fire increased its size within heavy timber that is surrounded by Yellowstone Lake to the north, east, and west and is estimated to be approximately 450 acres. This fire was discovered on August 14th on The Promontory at the south end of Yellowstone Lake. The fire is expected to again increase in size Saturday as it burns toward the northeastern edge of the peninsula. Some backcountry campsites on the peninsula are temporarily closed.

Other Fires: A new fire in Yellowstone was discovered Thursday afternoon south of Yellowstone Lake within an old 1988 burned area. It was seen smoldering yesterday within sparse vegetation. Both the remote Alum Fire south of Hayden Valley and the Snake Fire on the southern boundary of Yellowstone Park showed very little activity Thursday. A new fire was also discovered Thursday in the neighboring John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. That small fire is being suppressed.

Weather: Continued hot and dry conditions with increasing afternoon winds and a slight chance of an afternoon or evening shower or thunderstorm are forecast for Yellowstone on Saturday. Sunday is forecast to be slightly cooler and not quite as dry.

Impacts to visitors and area residents: All roads leading into and through the park and the surrounding forest and all campgrounds, lodging, stores, and visitor services are open. These fires pose no threat to visitors or area residents.

Additional information: Fire information is available on the web at, or on Twitter @YellowstoneNPS.

Yellowstone Bear Encounter – Two Hikers Injured

grizTwo people were treated for injuries after a backcountry bear encounter Thursday morning in Yellowstone National Park.

A group of four people was a few miles down the Cygnet Lakes Trail southwest of Canyon Village when they saw an approaching grizzly bear cub-of-the-year about 11:30 Thursday morning. A sow grizzly then appeared at very close range and charged the group.

Two of the hikers immediately discharged their canisters of bear spray and the sow and cub left the area after an encounter which lasted about a minute.

All four members of the group hiked out to the trailhead under their own power. One person was treated at the scene, while the second injured hiker was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with bite and claw wounds. All four have asked that their identities not be released.

Yellowstone bear biologists say the sow’s behavior is consistent with purely defensive actions taken after a surprise encounter with people. This was the first report of any bear-caused human injuries in Yellowstone this year. The incident remains under investigation.

Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay 100 yards from black and grizzly bears at all times. The best defense is to stay a safe distance from bears and use binoculars, a telescope or telephoto lens to get a closer look. These hikers were heeding the park’s advice to hike in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail, keep an eye out for bears and carry bear spray. Bear spray has proven to be a good last line of defense, if kept handy and used according to directions when a bear is approaching within 30 to 60 feet.

There had been no recent reports of grizzly bear activity in the area. As a precaution the Cygnet Lakes Trail and the surrounding area have been temporarily closed. In addition, the park has closed the nearby Mary Mountain area to any off trail travel.

Fire Update – Snake Fire

snakefireThe Snake Fire was discovered shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon, August 5, burning along the boundary between the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Yellowstone National Park, approximately three miles east of Yellowstone’s South Entrance. The area received numerous lightning strikes last Wednesday, and is the likely cause of the fire. Hot, dry conditions prompted rapid growth Monday afternoon in heavy timber. Morning reconnaissance has produced a more accurate estimate of the fire size at 40 acres, with many small spot fires adjacent to the fire perimeter.

Firefighting efforts are being jointly managed by the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.

Tuesday’s Firefighting Efforts

An Incident Command Post is being established at Grant Village to support firefighting efforts. Today’s focus is on putting firefighters in place to protect a backcountry cabin, gathering fuel samples to aid modeling of future fire behavior that will be used to develop firefighting strategy; producing a map of the fire perimeter, posting of trail closures and helping displaced backcountry travelers reroute their trips. A Type 3 helicopter is being ordered in from the Black Hills of South Dakota to support firefighting operations.

Public and firefighter safety is always the first concern and priority. The Greater Yellowstone area is a fire adapted ecosystem. Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of this area’s wildlife habitat and vegetation. Fires are managed to protect people and property, enhance the area’s natural resources where appropriate, and safely and effectively use available firefighting resources.

Fire Weather

Tuesday’s high temperatures are expected to be somewhat cooler, but with low afternoon relative humidity and moderate winds which are expected to change directions throughout the day. There is an isolated chance of late day thunderstorms. This is expected to result in increased fire activity this afternoon and on into the evening.

Impacts to visitors and area residents

Some trails and backcountry campsites near Yellowstone’s South Entrance have been temporarily closed. At times a tall smoke column rising above the fire may be seen from locations a very long distance away from the fire. However, all roads leading into and through the parks and the forest and all campgrounds, lodging, stores, and visitor services are open. The fire poses no threat to visitors or area residents.

Additional information

The next fire update will be prepared and distributed by 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 6. Updates will be posted online at

Steamboat Geyser Erupts

Steamboat Geyser
NPS File Photo of 1960’s eruption

Steamboat Geyser erupted for the first time in 8 years on July 31st 2013.  Steamboat geyser is the worlds tallest active geyser and it’s eruptions can reach heights of 300 feet. It’s intervals have been as long as 50 years and in 1964 it erupted a record 29 times. NBC News has video of the recent eruptions steam phase here:

Note: Attached photo is from a 1960’s eruption.