A lightning strike has set off a fire on Promontory Peninsula between the south and southeast arms of Yellowstone Lake.
The fire, referred to as the “5L4” fire since it started near a backcountry campsite, was reported by park staff Monday, August 24.
Currently, the 5L4 fire is estimated to cover three to five acres. In addition, it is burning in a 1500 acre span of unburned vegetation, untouched by both the 2013 Alder fire and the 1988 Snake fire. Although it is visibly smoking and growing, no roads or visitor structures are threatened.
Under prevailing conditions, the fire is not expected to expand outside Promontory Peninsula; fire crews are monitoring the fire and expect it to burn naturally. Several backcountry campsites in the area (5L3, 5L4, 6A1) are closed until further notice.
Currently, the fire danger in Yellowstone National park is “High,” although no fire restrictions have been put into place. Campfires are still only permitted in designated campground grills, select picnic area, and specific backcountry campsites. August 13, the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group (which encompasses high-ranked federal and state fire managers) raised the National Fire Preparedness Level to its highest level, 5.
Across the western United States, in 11 states, 66 large fires and/or complexes are burning—with high degrees of activity apparent on both sides, between fires and fighters.
The severe conditions in Yellowstone (and the West) are expected to continue for at least a few days more.