Fire at Yellowstone is Growing
The Spruce Fire burning in Yellowstone National Park has grown significantly since its discovery on Wednesday, September 9. Warmer weather and low humidity levels have allowed the fire to grow to an estimated 425 acres as of 11 am on Saturday. While fire activity increased significantly on Friday afternoon, a helicopter overflight this morning showed reduced activity, with mostly backing and smoldering. However, as temperatures increase, and relative humidity levels decrease throughout Saturday afternoon, fire managers expect to see the fire activity levels pick up again as the day progresses. The fire’s smoke has been very visible from locations in all directions, but no structures or roads are threatened and there are no closures due to the fire.
The Spruce Fire is located in a wooded area ten miles west of Fishing Bridge and two miles south of Hayden Valley in the central portion of the park. The fire, likely caused by lightning from scattered storms that passed through the area in early September, is burning in a forest of fire-adapted lodgepole pines. Park fire crews are monitoring the fire and allowing it to play its natural role in the ecosystem. A webcam at the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout shows excellent views of the smoke column, CLICK HERE.
A much smaller fire, the 5L4 Fire on the Promontory Peninsula at the south end of Yellowstone Lake, was reported on August 24, and is currently 16 acres and not very active. Fire crews are also managing this fire for its benefits to park resources. Backcountry campsites 5L3, 5L4, and 6A1 continue to be closed due to the 5L4 Fire.
The fire danger in Yellowstone National Park is currently “High.” There are no fire restrictions in place, however, campfires are only allowed in designated grills in park campgrounds, some picnic areas, and specific backcountry campsites. The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group, which consists of top federal and state fire managers, dropped the National Fire Preparedness Level down from 5, the highest level possible, to 4, on September 6. Preparedness level 4 reflects a high degree of wildfire activity, a major commitment of fire resources, and the probability that severe conditions will continue for at least a few days. There are currently 37 large fires or complexes of fires, burning in six states across the west.