All four active fires in Yellowstone (Maple, Buffalo, Fawn, and Central) exhibited growth yesterday.
According to a Yellowstone press release, Central Fire now measures 86 acres. We previously reported it measured only 0.1 acres in size. It is currently moving into an area burned by the 2015 Spruce Fire.
Maple Fire, meanwhile, has grown to 33,058 acres—a gain of approximately 1,650 acres since our last report. Currently, the Maple Fire is 3.8 miles form West Yellowstone, 1.8 miles from Madison Junction and 3.7 miles from West Yellowstone. It is also visible from the road near 7 Mile Bridge. At this time, the West Entrance Road is still open, although crews say they will implement traffic control if smoke becomes too thick.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality warning for the West Yellowstone area, calling conditions “unhealthy.”
The South Entrance is still closed at this time, due to activity from the Berry Fire in Grand Teton National Park. According to Inciweb, the fire measures 12,387 acres and is burning on both sides of U.S. 191.
UPDATE: The South Entrance has reopened to visitor travel. Read the full story here.
A Chinook helicopter assisted firefighters on the northwest corner of the Maple Fire. Later today, crews will deploy hose lays in the Cougar Creek area to augment potential burn out operations, according to a Yellowstone press release. More burnout activities will take place in the 7 Mile Bridge area.
Crews have also completed fuel reduction and structure protection projects around Madison Junction. Crews in Norris Geyser Basin will undertake similar measures. A fuel reduction project is still underway around West Yellowstone and in the Duck Creek subdivision.
There will be a public fire meeting held tonight, 7:30 p.m. August 29, at the LDS Church on 245 Faithful Street in West Yellowstone.
To the north, Buffalo Fire grew to 3,578 acres and is moving through open Douglas-fir forests, grass and sage. Due to fire activity, Slough Creek Campground has been closed.
Fawn Fire, meanwhile, gained 15 acres and now measures 1,986 acres. Crews say they expect continued growth over the next few days, as the fire seeks out new fuels on favorable topography.
Stage 1 fire restrictions are still in place for Yellowstone National Park. All park roads and visitor facilities, both NPS- and concessionaire-operated, are open at this time.