Continued dry, windy conditions have allowed the Dakota Complex of fires in Zion National Park to grow to nearly 10,000 acres in the park's backcountry. Fire bosses say they've contained just 10 percent of the fires, and the current weather conditions, the rugged terrain the fires are located within, and the possibility of thunderstorms are compounding efforts to get better control over the blazes.
The accompanying map isn't the best, but it gives you a rough idea of where in the park the fires are located. Stands of Ponderosa pine, pinyon pine, juniper, sage and grasses are feeding the flames, which have prompted park officials to ban backcountry travel and canyoneering.
In Yellowstone, the Owl Fire in the park's northwestern corner blew up to 400 acres late Saturday. Located east of U.S. 191 and just south of Specimen Creek, the fire was sparked by a lightning strike Friday. It had covered only about 60 acres Saturday morning, but the unusually dry conditions and winds gusting to 20 miles per hour pushed the flames quickly through stands of lodgepole and whitebark pine.
Today, conditions permitting, crews are using helicopters to dump buckets of water on the fire.
So far Yellowstone has reported 11 fires this summer, and the Owl Fire is the largest. Of the 11, seven were sparked by lightning, the other four by people.