A large fire is burning just outside Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance—and could close both the entrance and the highway if it spreads any further north.
According to Inciweb, the fire in question began Tuesday, July 18. Dubbed “June Fire” due to its proximity to June Creek in Shoshone National Forest, the fire is burning on approximately 2,000 acres one-and-a-half miles south of U.S. Highway 14June/16/20. Further, the fire is approximately 25 miles west of Cody, Wyoming.
According to a Yellowstone press release, the June Fire is about 13 miles from Yellowstone’s East Entrance.
According to Inciweb, a 20-person crew is currently on the scene; there is also a light helicopter presence.
A picture of the fire’s spread is below, courtesy of Inciweb.
According to the Billings Gazette, the fire has not (as of yet) been contained. The community of Cody started a meeting at the Yellowstone Valley Inn at 6 p.m. MST; the details of the meeting have not been released yet. From the Gazette:
On Friday firefighters were using hose lays, sprinklers and hand lines to protect the UXU Ranch and Blackwater Lodge. Crews were also continuing to improve hand lines installed on Thursday along Blackwater Ridge and were looking to extend that to the north and east along the North Fork.
Aviation resources will assist firefighters as needed with bucket drops and reconnaissance.
Last year saw the most fire activity around Yellowstone National Park since 1988, when nearly a million acres were scorched. Approximatley 62,000 acres burned last year in Yellowstone, mostly in the western and northwestern portions of the park. Some activity was witnessed in proximity of Lake Village.
Officials have predicted an average fire season for 2017. Currently, the fire danger in Yellowstone is “Moderate,” which means rangers and other officials expect some wildfire presence in and around the park. In anticipation of this, crews have been working to create buffer zones and remove dead/fallen trees.