True, there’s still smoldering on the 10,700 acres once encompassed by the Arnica Fire. Recent rain and snow dampened the forest fire, but not before it spread to the point where the Grand Loop Road was closed between the Fishing Bridge junction and Bridge Bay and sprinklers were installed at Lake Village to protect the historic structures there.
But the road is now totally open, bring some level of normalcy to the Park as the season winds down.
In fact, major parts of Yellowstone National Park are already closed, with the rest slated to wind down in coming days. Bridge Bay, most of Canyon Village, Fishing Bridge services, all of Grant Village, all of Lake Village, and all of Tower/Roosevelt services are closed. Things will wind down at Mammoth this weekend when the Terrace Grill and Gift Shop close. The only area to remain open to any degree is Old Faithful, and over the next three weeks things will gradually wind down there as well. (Here’s a list of 2009 closing dates.) And every campground save Lewis Lake (open until November 1), Mammoth (open all year) and Slough Creek (closing October 31) is closed.
It is, to be sure, a bittersweet time in the Park. The crowds are gone, and if you visit chances are good you’ll have formerly busy areas to yourself. Winter is definitely in the air; the snowstorm last week that squelched the Arnica Fire was merely a taste of what’s to come in the next eight months. Enjoy the fall weather while you can.