While there are few outbreaks of Yellowstone forest fires in 2018, one fire on the western boundary of the Park — the Bacon Rind Fire — continues to expand.
At one point officials had given up on monitoring the Bacon Rind Fire, but persistent warm and dry weather, as well as nighttime temps well above average and plenty of underbrush ripe for clearing, led to a resurgence of the fire. It’s now at an estimated 4,236 acres at its perimeter, located 20 miles south of Big Sky and located in both Yellowstone National Park and the Gallatin National Forest. (Remember: the perimeter doesn’t mean all 4,236 acres are on fire. There were plenty of islands of untouched forest within that perimeter.) Smoke from the fire can be seen on Highway 191, but auto speeds near the fire have been slowed to a posted 45 mph. A full crew, including a 20-person hand crew, a helicopter and several engines are deployed to monitor the situation. Right now there’s no anticipated issues with structures or tourism activity past trail closures in the area.
Despite the conditions, there has been little fire activity in Yellowstone in 2018. The National Park Service lists two active fires besides the Bacon Rind Fire. Only one of Yellowstone’s active fires — the Basin Creek Fire — is over an acre in size. The Basin Creek Fire, first detected on August 10 and caused by lightning in a forested area 5 miles south of Heart Lake, has stalled at 19 acres and is not impacting Park operations. But don’t forget the Yellowstone fire danger is still rated at Very High by the National Park Service, thanks to the warm weather and dry conditions and no significant cooling at night. The latest fire in the Park, the Pow Wow Fire, didn’t grow past a tenth of an acre but, sad to say, caused by humans.
Image of Bacon Rind Fire courtesy InciWeb.