After a wet spring, summer has gotten increasingly drier in the Rocky Mountains, and in Yellowstone National Park that has boosted fire danger and sparked some fires. On Thursday alone five new blazes were spotted in the park.
The Heart Lake Fire was discovered Thursday morning, park officials said Friday, while the other four were reported late Thursday afternoon. All five are small lightning-caused fires burning in the backcountry.
This fire is located in the south central portion of the park, about a half mile northeast of Heart Lake. This lightning caused fire was reported Thursday morning. It is one-tenth of an acre. As a precaution, firefighters will set up structure protection at the Heart Lake Patrol Cabin, which is about a mile from the heel of the fire.
Discovered Thursday afternoon, this fire is several miles southeast of Canyon Village and west of the junction of the Wapiti Lake and Astringent Creek trails. Due to its location, the park has temporarily closed some nearby backcountry campsites and trail segments. It is one-tenth of an acre in size.
This small fire, one-tenth of an acre in size, was also reported Thursday afternoon. It is located on the east shore of Yellowstone Lake, between Elk Point and Park Point.
This fire was spotted Thursday afternoon northeast of the park’s South Entrance. This fire is burning in dense, old growth forest and can produce a smoke column visible from the South Entrance road. Currently one-tenth of an acre in size, it is expected to grow in the coming days.
A fifth, yet unnamed fire has been reported on the Pitchstone Plateau in the southwest corner of the park. Firefighters will travel into this remote site Friday for a size-up.
All five of these new fires will be managed as the Heart Complex.
The one other active fire burning in the park is the Gibbon Fire. It was discovered on July 12. This lightning caused fire is burning in the backcountry 3 miles east of Madison Junction. It is currently six acres. The Gibbon Fire received over one-third of an inch of rain Thursday, which has significantly reduced fire activity.
Fire danger in Yellowstone currently is rated “Very High.” Visitors are encouraged to be careful with campfires, grills, camp stoves, and smoking materials. There have been 14 fires reported in Yellowstone this year.
Other than limited temporary closures of some backcountry campsites and hiking trails, all park entrances, roads and services are open. None of these fires pose a threat to park visitors.
The latest information on backcountry access is available by contacting Backcountry Offices throughout the park or by calling 307-344-2160 during normal business hours, seven days a week. When actively burning, smoke from any of these fires may be visible from park roadways. Updated information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2580, or on the web at http://www.inciweb.org/unit/5382/.