That’s OK. Though the fire started in a relatively remote area — next Beach Lake, about seven miles north of Bridge Bay Campground — the fear was that it would spread east and west to tourist facilities and historic buildings. Despite the 1988 fires that whipped through Yellowstone, there’s still a lot of backcountry ripe for a forest fire: lots of downed trees and underbrush.
That’s why the decision was made to bring in the big boys: the Incident Management Team 2. They implemented the strategy put forward by Park officials: let the fire burn to the burned-out areas created last fall by the Arnica Fire and set up control lines to the west and north to contain the blaze.
It worked. The fire is now totally contained. The Incident Management Team is home, the large firefighting base at Fishing Bridge is quiet, and all that’s left is for the Beach Fire is to smolder and burn itself out. Park Service officials will be flying over the 520 acres to make sure nothing unexpected happens. If all goes according to plan, there’s be a little smoke and the occasional flame kicked off by the Beach Fire — but that’s it.
Photos by Jess Secrest, Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team.
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