With the weather hot and dry in much of the West, three larger fires in Yellowstone National Park are active but not yet impacting visitors and services, though some thermal areas are closed.The three largest active multiple Yellowstone fires — the Alum Fire, Alder Fire and Druid Fire — have all grown in recent days, as four straight days of hot and dry conditions have done little to impede their growth. All three fires produced tall smoke columns visible for several miles in all directions.
These are not the only fires in the region; there are also forest fires outside the park to the north and west in Montana and Idaho, contributing to occasionally hazy conditions at some locations at times during the day. Fire managers continue to focus on providing for public and firefighter safety, and for the protection of structures, communities, and natural and historic resources.
Out of the multiple Yellowstone fires, the fire with the most impact so far is the lightning-caused Alum Fire, first discovered in the backcountry west of Mud Volcano on Wednesday. Winds prompted two fingers of this fire to grow to the southeast on Sunday, after a long northeast run on Saturday. The Alum Fire was only three acres until critical fire weather conditions Saturday afternoon prompted it to expand to 3,000 acres in a matter of hours. The fire grew another 1,000 acres on Sunday, bringing the estimated size to 4,000 acres. The fire perimeter remains within a mile of the Grand Loop Road south of Mud Volcano and there is the potential for temporary closures of the road between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge Junction.
Mud Volcano, LeHardy Rapids and several picnic areas and pullouts, as well as, some backcountry trails in the area are temporarily closed.
Additional firefighters and engines arrived on Sunday and more are expected today and later in the week as fire mangers focus on protection of the road corridor, the boardwalk in Mud Volcano, and the nearby power line. As a precaution, structure protection efforts are already underway in Fishing Bridge, Lake Village and Bridge Bay should the fire advance toward those areas in coming days. While area evacuations are not imminent, preparations are underway to assist residents and visitors in leaving the Fishing Bridge, Lake Village, and Bridge Bay area in the unlikely event that an evacuation is necessary in the coming days.
The Alder Fire, located on the south end of Yellowstone Lake, is producing a smoke column in the afternoon and evening visible from all around the lake. unday’s hot, dry, windy conditions prompted it to grow to 2,000 acres. However, it is on a peninsula at the south end of Yellowstone Lake and is hemmed in by water on three sides and by a recently burned area to the south. Several backcountry campsites on The Promontory have been temporarily closed. This lightning-caused fire was discovered on August 14.
The oldest of the three, the Druid Fire, is burning in a steep heavily timbered area on Druid Peak. It is visible at times from along the Northeast Entrance road. It increased slightly from 60 to 75 acres on Sunday. This fire was started by lightning and was discovered on Friday, August 9.
There are other smaller fires on the horizon as well. The Passage Fire was discovered Thursday at the south end of Yellowstone Lake. This lightning-caused fire remains quiet and is just half an acre in size. Some smoke was again seen on the Snake Fire, located three miles east of the South Entrance along the boundary with the Bridger-Teton National Forest. It remains estimated at 200 acres.
The weather will not be cooperating in curtailing these multiple Yellowstone fires, as another hot, dry day with gusty westerly winds is forecast for Yellowstone. Officials expect growth with all the multiple Yellowstone fires.
As of now, all roads leading into and through the park and the surrounding forest and all campgrounds, lodging, stores, and visitor services are open. Updated park road information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307/344-2117.