Critical fire weather conditions will continue throughout Yellowstone National Park as the NWS extends their Red Flag Warning to Saturday.
According to a Yellowstone press release, today’s forecast calls for dry, isolated thunderstorms, producing lighting and erratic winds. A cold front is expected sometime today, bringing sustained winds 25 to 30 mph, with ridgetop gusts as high as 45 mph. Temperatures will be slightly cooler, while the relative humidity will stay low.
The release also included an air quality index for Yellowstone and the surrounding area. The index also includes information for Bozeman, Montana, to the north. You can read the index below, which covers Thursday, today, and tomorrow.
Last night, crews did not complete an infrared flight around Maple Fire. At this time, we don’t have an updated acreage. We previously reported Maple Fire had grown to 38,004 acres.
However, according to ground crews, fire activity around Maple Fire continued to be mild. West Yellowstone even received a scant amount of rain, which cut down on smoke from the Maple Fire. Crews caution, however, there are still large pockets of dry fuel.
Crews used “aggressive suppression actions” to curb the fire’s spread toward the west. Control lines, including handline, natural barriers, hose lays, and pre-burnt spots, have been established around the fire. Air support is on hand when needed.
Today, crews will delay the fire around Richard’s Creek, assess whether to continue burnout operations north and south of Cougar Creek, continue building a control line from Gneiss Creek to Campanula Creek, and implement burnout operations at Riverview.
Crews are still working on fuels reduction projects around West Yellowstone and Duck Creek subdivisions. West of the Seven Mile Bridge, crews continue to burn out parcels of land north of the Madison River.
The West Entrance Road is open at this time, although there are slight traffic delays projected due to activity from fire personnel.
Buffalo Fire, meanwhile, grew to 7,422 acres, a nearly 3,000-acre growth, with most of the activity coming on the fire’s east side near the Slough Creek Trail. Crews expect Buffalo to stay active throughout the day.
To the west, Fawn Fire has grown to 2,527 acres. Crews expect the fire to stay active, with movement to the north.
Central Fire, finally, has grown to 1,260 acres and continues to move west through a 1988 fire scar.
All park entrances and visitor facilities, both NPS- and concessionaire-operated, are open at this time. Area businesses are also open. The Bakers Hole area of the Madison River is also still open at this time.