The fire is located southwest of the East Entrance; so far the smoke has been the only indication of the fire. It’s located in some very rugged terrain; as a result the NPS couldn’t send anyone back there on foot or horseback, and the windy conditions prevented the use of a helicopter.
That same wind, of course, is prime fodder for a fire expanding.
We expect more details today when NPS folks head back there to assess the situation. So far the fire is not close to any roads, tourist service or people.
UPDATE: Yes, the fire is confirmed by the National Park Service. Here’s the press release:
Strong winds Wednesday brought to life a fire likely ignited from a series of storms that passed through the area more than a week ago. The 75-acre Arthur 2 Fire is burning within the perimeter of the 2001 Arthur Fire, about 1.5 miles southwest of the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The area contains large amounts of dead trees, both standing and down, remaining from the 2001 Arthur Fire.
No closures are in effect because of the Arthur 2 Fire.
“We made the decision to manage this fire for multiple objectives, primarily based on concerns for firefighter safety,” said Fire Management Officer Joe Krish. “Because of the acres of snags and the heavy dead and down fuels, there is no way to get firefighters in there safely, no safety zone and no escape routes.”
As a lightning-ignited fire, the Arthur 2 Fire is in line with the park’s resource management plan that calls for allowing natural processes to occur when possible in the park.
Yesterday’s 40 mph winds pushed the fire to 75 acres on August 18, but currently only about 20 percent of the perimeter is active. Yellowstone has requested a wildland fire management team to do a long-term analysis plan for the Arthur 2 Fire. Representatives from the neighboring Shoshone National Forest have also been involved in the decision to manage the fire.
Local resources, including an engine, the park’s helicopter and fire effects crew, are assigned to the fire. Firefighters are also setting up precautionary structure protection for the developed area around the East Entrance. The park has performed hazard fuels reduction in the developed area, most recently during the 2007 Columbine Fire.
The Arthur 2 Fire started in and remains within the perimeter of the 2001 Arthur Fire, which burned 2,850 acres between July 29 and when it was fully contained on August 13. The 2001 fire was named for its proximity to Arthur Peak, a 10,438 foot mountain which lies 4.5 miles southwest of the park’s East Entrance. The peak was named in honor of Chester A. Arthur, who in 1883 was the first president to visit Yellowstone National Park.