Yellowstone National Park

Arnica Fire Recedes; Grand Loop Road Re-Opens on Limited Basis

It was a day of action yesterday. First, snow and rain arrived at 6 a.m., eventually soaking things down and providing a dusting of snow at the very least throughout the Park (more on that later). It immediately impacted the fire to the point where sprinklers were removed from the Lake Village area and moved back to Mammoth. It also allowed crews to move in and begin clearing the Grand Loop Road between the Fishing Bridge Junction and West Thumb.

Today the cleanup continues, as crews remove downed trees and snags around Bridge Bay Marina. There will be limited access on the Grand Loop Road: it will be open between 6 and 8 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. and 6 and 8 p.m. daily until cleanup is done. During these open periods, National Park Service staff will escort two-way traffic through a two-mile road segment. A maximum of eight vehicles will be escorted at a time in each direction. Vehicles must follow the flow of traffic; no stopping will be allowed. In addition, the Grand Loop Road between Tower and Canyon remains closed due to snow.

The lessons of the Arnica Fire? That the fire-management strategy of the National Park Service seems to work. The emphasis was on letting the fire go while protecting Park facilities; that’s why the emphasis was on sprinklers set up at Lake Village and Bridge Bay Marina. The fire did clear out a lot of old growth west of Yellowstone Lake, and the burn now forms a protective area west of Lake Village as well.

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