The 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.
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.
The next fire update will be prepared and distributed by 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 6. Updates will be posted online at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3600/.