A handful of fires burning in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, along with extremely dry conditions, have prompted park officials to close some trails and backcountry campsites and also reinstate fire restrictions.
The largest fire currently burning in the park is the so-called Dewdrop Fire, which was sparked by lightning on July 27th and now covers about 25 acres to the east of Canyon Village.
As a precaution to keep hikers out of harm's way, the following backcountry campsites and trail segments north and east of the Dewdrop Fire were closed Monday afternoon:
* Astringent Creek Trail at the junction of the Lower Pelican Creek Trail.
* Upper Pelican Creek Trail at the junction of the Lower Pelican Creek Trail.
* Wapiti Lake Trail East of campsite site 4M2 to Wapiti Lake.
* Fern Lake Trail
* Backcountry campsites 4B1, 4B2, 4B3, 4B4, 4W2, 4W3, 5B1, 5B2, and 5P7.
Yellowstone was to be under a "red flag" warning until 9 p.m. Monday due to critical fire weather conditions. The fire danger in the park remains "very high."
Because of the forecast calling for continued hot and dry conditions, Yellowstone will reinstitute the following fire restrictions, effective noon Wednesday:
* Campfires are allowed only in established fire grates or fire rings in picnic areas or campgrounds. The use of portable charcoal grills is prohibited.
* Any fire that can produce an ash is prohibited in the backcountry.
* You can use portable stoves and lanterns which use propane, white gas, kerosene, or jellied petroleum for fuel anywhere in the park.
* Smoking is prohibited along all trails and anywhere in the backcountry.
* Smoking is allowed in vehicles and along roads, near buildings, and in developed campgrounds or picnic areas if you are standing in an area at least three feet in diameter where nothing on the ground will burn.
The other active fires in the park are the Shoshone, Camera, Range, and Dewdrop 2. The largest of these is just one acre in size, park officials said Monday.
Other than the listed 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.
When actively burning, smoke from the Dewdrop Fire may be visible from park roadways or from the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout Web Cam.
There have been 11 fires reported in Yellowstone this year. Seven were started by lightning, and four were human-caused. The largest to-date has been the 29-acre Blacktail Fire that was reported in July.
Updated fire information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2580.