If you see smoke around the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, don’t worry: park crews are just burning woody debris.
According to a Yellowstone press release, staff started igniting debris around 9 a.m. this morning (May 21, 2018).
Visitors should expect smoke in the area from now through Tuesday morning.
According to the press release, crews are burning debris as part of a Firewise project. An initiative from the National Fire Protection Association, Firewise seeks to prepare areas against wildfire.
In recent years, Yellowstone has seen a rise in fire activity. Although there hasn’t been a season as severe as the 1988 fires, which saw just over one-third of the park burn (and almost saw the destruction of the Old Faithful Inn), fire is still an omnipresent possibility around the park in the summer.
2016, for instance, saw the most fire activity around Yellowstone since 1988. Indeed, several campgrounds and roads were temporarily closed due to fire activity. 2017 was less severe, with no major fires reported within park boundaries, although nearby Shoshone National Forest, east of Yellowstone, got hit by the June Fire, which burned over a thousand acres.