The Arnica Fire is located five miles west of the Bridge Bay Campground and the northwest shore of Yellowstone Lake, growing in size from four acres on Wednesday to 250 acres by Thursday afternoon, according to Yellowstone National Park officials via a press release. The fire is burning in a flat area of mature lodgepole pine forest, moving south toward the Park’s power-line corridor and the Grand Loop Road.
The fire is already close enough to the road to slow down traffic due to smoke in the area. To keep the fire from reaching either the power corridor or the road helicopters will be using bucket drops to cool off the southern head and the west flank of the fire.
Still, the fire is expected to grow more: the weather forecast is warm and dry. You can bet Park officials will be keeping a very close eye on this fire: with the Norris-Madison portion of the Grand Loop Road closed, there’s much more traffic passing through this area than normal.
As of now there are no trail closures associated with the fire.
There are three active fires in Yellowstone: in addition to the Arnica Fire the Rainbow Fire continues to move through the north facing slope of Sepulcher Mountain, uphill from Rainbow Lake, and below the Sepulcher Mountain Trail. The Butte Fire, now at 160 acres, is expected to be active for the foreseeable future. In addition, a small, 3.5-acre Chaw Pass Fire has been spotted on the north end of The Thunderer, high on a ridge above the Cache Creek drainage. It is burning in a mature, mixed forest of lodgepole pine, spruce, and fir. It’s visible from the Northeast Entrance but poses no danger to the area.