The Beach Fire, so named because it started in an area close to Beach Lake, is now at 520 acres and 25 percent contained. Its growth was slowed yesterday by some favorable weather conditions — less wind, cooler temps, more humidity — and the fire-management plan in place, designed to steer the fire toward burned-out areas created by the Arnica Fire last summer.
The real battle, we’re told, is to the west, where control lines are being created to prevent a spread in that direction. This isn’t easy work: the control lines are being installed in areas of thick growth with lots of underbrush and downed trees. We’re talking real backcountry here: this area has no hiking trails or regular access. Maintaining the integrity of the control lines will be key: if the Beach Fire is to grow dramatically, it will be to the west, we’re told. And that could pose problems in attempts to control it. We’re talking about a fire that’s a long ways from any tourism facilities in the Park, but obviously NPS officials don’t want a fire that could burn for weeks if unimpeded.
Today sees a new management team in place to oversee fire prevention: the Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team. They’ll oversee suppression efforts with the help of four 20-person “hotshot” crews and two 20-person “Type 2” hand crews. With the help of helitack personnel and several helicopters, they will continue building control line along the western flank of the fire. They’ll be helped by the weather: there a chance of afternoon thunderstorms.
So far no hiking trails have been closed because of the fire. Roads and tourism facilities are unaffected.
Top photo by Roy Renkin, courtesy of the National Park Service.
RELATED STORIES: Beach Fire Up to 385 Acres; Containment Strategy Seems to Be Working; See the Yellowstone Beach Fire in Action From Mount Washburn; Report From the Field: Yellowstone Beach Fire Remains Steady; Yellowstone Beach Fire Spreads to 150 Acres; Another Fire Breaks Out in Yellowstone National Park