Yellowstone Fire Update – August 20th 2012

Summary: Due to the lack of moisture throughout the park in the last several days, the fire danger level in Yellowstone has been elevated to Extreme. Fire restrictions are still in effect. Fire activity has increased on two fires in the central portion of the park, and smoke may be visible from several areas along the Grand Loop Road from Norris to Canyon Village and south to Fishing Bridge.

Cygnet Fire: This lightning caused fire was discovered Friday afternoon, August 10, about 5 miles southeast of Norris Junction. Visual inspections during overflights over the weekend have estimated its size at 87 acres. Two 20-person firefighting crews are working to prepare a utility corridor south of the Norris to Canyon road in case the fire reaches that area, and they will continue to monitor the fire. As a precaution, the Cygnet Lakes Trail is closed temporarily in its entirety. Smoke may become visible from several areas throughout the park.

Dewdrop Fire: This lightning caused fire, burning in the backcountry nine miles southeast of Canyon, was discovered on July 27 and is now approximately 63 acres. As a precaution, an area around the fire including some backcountry campsites and trail segments are temporarily closed.

Agate Fire: This lightning caused fire was discovered Tuesday, August 7. It is burning in the backcountry southeast of Tower Junction, on the east side of the Yellowstone River. It has shown little recent activity, and is still estimated at one-half of an acre. Backcountry campsite 2Y1 is temporarily closed due to the fire.

Other Fires and Smoke: Firefighters are also continuing to monitor the Range, Camera, and Dewdrop 2 fires. All have shown little recent activity and are all less than one acre. While each of the park’s fires may produce a smoke column visible from some roads or trails when actively burning, most of the smoke present in the region is due to fires burning south and west of Yellowstone, and not from the small fires in the park.

Fire Restrictions: Campfires are allowed only in established fire grates or fire rings in picnic areas or campgrounds. The use of portable charcoal grills is prohibited. Any fire which can produce an ash is prohibited in the backcountry. You can use portable stoves and lanterns which use propane, white gas, kerosene, or jellied petroleum for fuel anywhere in the park. Smoking is prohibited along all trails and anywhere in the backcountry. Smoking is allowed in vehicles and along roads, near buildings, and in developed campgrounds or picnic areas if you are standing in an area at least three feet in diameter where nothing on the ground will burn.

Impacts to visitors and area residents: Aside from a few trail segments and some backcountry campsite closures associated with the fires, all park entrances, roads, campgrounds, lodging, stores, and other visitor services are open. Closure details are available at any park Visitor Center or Backcountry Office. Backcountry information can also be obtained by calling 307-344-2160.

Weather Forecast: Increased chance for isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Hi of 75, winds 5-10 mph, 24-30 percent humidity.