Another day of cool and wet weather has further dampened the Druid Fire Complex, as the six Yellowstone National Park fires are showing no smoke.
Of the six, the most active, the Alum fire, was burning in a few concentrations of heavier fuels and isolated stumps and roots in the ground. Druid Fire Complex firefighters continue to monitor these lightning-caused fires as they are a natural part of the ecosystem. Those fires refresh and renew the lodgepole-pine forests.
One other benefit to the cool and wet weather: Druid Fire Complex fire managers have downsized the organization for the reduced current and expected fire activity. Fire managers feel good that the minimal fire activity and recent precipitation are giving some firefighters the opportunity to move on to higher priority fires and others a rest break at home after what has been a long and strenuous season. These actions will not jeopardize public or firefighter safety. And if the fire activity again increases, fire managers have access to the national ordering system to increase the fire fighting forces quickly and efficiently. A total of 58 firefighters were involved in operations yesterday (9/3) and forces will likely be trimmed a little more today.
When the Alum fire was burning strongly to the west in the third week of August, fire managers laid plans to protect developed areas along Yellowstone Lake by preparing a defensible fireline nearby from which to burn out fuels if necessary. Since then firefighters have cleared a defensible indirect line along much of the power line that runs from the Lake area to Bridge Bay. Lanes under power lines are kept clear of large trees to prevent electrical transmission problems but firefighters widened this corridor and so far no burning has been needed. The brush and material hauled out has gone into an area burned by the 2009 Arnica fire, south of Bridge Bay.
Firefighters completed most of that task Tuesday, but are waiting for drier weather so they can remove the mats laid over marshy areas for machinery to work on and not damage any wetlands.
Image courtesy National Park Service.