Overview: Activity on the fires that comprise the Druid Complex was moderated again on Friday by cooler temperatures, increased humidity and rain from another day of thunderstorms in the park. Fire managers were able to fly the fires to check their progress which was minimal. The fire has not been remapped due to heavy cloud cover which prohibited infrared mapping. Firefighters are taking advantage of the conditions to make preparations to construct contingency firelines to protect important facilities should the fires become more active with warmer and drier weather beginning early next week. The total fire acreage for the complex is currently 11,658 acres.
Additional thunderstorms will pass through the park on Saturday, with significant lightning forecasted through Monday. Minimal fire activity including creeping and smoldering is expected while the storms continue, however an expected shift in the weather next week could easily cause the fires to become more active as fuels dry out. Concern remains over the potential for lightning to ignite new fires in the park. Initial attack resources are ready to respond if any new fires are reported.
Public Information Officers will be available at the Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge Visitor Centers during the day to help inform visitors about the fires and answer questions. Visitors will also see an increased amount of fire traffic in the Fishing Bridge area where a fire camp has been established for personnel working on the fires.
The highest priority in managing the fires is to protect public and firefighter safety. The fires are being closely monitored because of the benefits they provide for the unique ecosystems found in the park. Many plant species, including Douglas fir and lodgepole pine, which dominate the forests, are dependent on fire for health and propagation. Many of Yellowstone’s wild animals have also evolved to live with fire.
Alum Fire: The Alum Fire (pronounced AL-umm, not ah-LUM) is located in the heart of the park, just west of the section of the Grand Loop Road between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge. The fire became slightly more active on Friday afternoon as winds increased, and continued to burn slowly through a heavily forested area. However, overall, spread is minimal.
Crews, engines and feller bunchers, specialized equipment that remove vegetation, will continue to be used on Saturday to prepare a fuel break under the powerline west of the Lake Village area. The line is being prepared in case there becomes a need to conduct firing operations to help stop the fire before it reaches the Fishing Bridge, Lake Village, and Bridge Bay areas. “Firing operations” are the application of fire to the landscape to remove unburned fuels ahead of an advancing fire. Power will continue to be off in the Bridge Bay area from 8:30am to 7:00pm on Saturday for the safety of crews working near the powerlines. Crews may begin moving the vegetation over the weekend.
Crews are also constructing a fireline that stretches west of Bridge Bay to the burn scar of the 2009 Arnica Fire. This line is being prepared in case the fire spreads to the south and threatens the Bridge Bay Marina, Campground and General Store.
Friday evening was the last evening for patrols working along the Grand Loop Road between the Canyon and Lake Village areas until weather conditions create the potential for increased fire activity.
Mud Volcano, LeHardy Rapids, and several picnic areas and pullouts, as well as some backcountry trails in the area are temporarily closed.
Alder Fire: This fire is isolated on a peninsula at the south end of Yellowstone Lake and is buffered by water on three sides and a recently burned area to the south. Four members of the Rocky Mountain Fire Module completed structure assessment around homes on Peale Island on Friday and will be working on the Alum Fire Saturday.
Druid Fire: The Druid Fire is located high above the Northeast Entrance road on the north side of Druid Peak. Minimal fire activity was observed on Friday, however it continues to retain heat and smoke. The fire is slowly backing downslope into the Rose Creek drainage area. A wildland fire module will be scouting the area east of the fire on Saturday to identify potential places for firelines that may needed if the fire becomes more active and advances towards the Grand Loop Road. Three “monitors” are stationed on the fire to watch for increasing activity.
Snake Fire: The Snake Fire is located three miles east of the South Entrance along the boundary with the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The fire has shown minimal activity over the past few days. This is the last report on this fire unless activity increases.
Impacts to visitors and area residents:
All roads leading into and through the park and all visitor services including campgrounds, lodging, stores and visitor services in the park are open. Impacts from smoke have been minimal and will continue as long as the weather is cool. All visitors are encouraged to check for updates often as road closures may be needed based on daily fire activity. Updated park road information is available 24-hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
Additional information can be found on the web at:
Recorded Fire Information Line 307-344-2580
Email us at Yellowstone.firstname.lastname@example.org
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View fire photos on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/yellowstonenps/sets/72157635186710997/
Yellowstone National Park Website http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm
Web Cams at http://www.nps.gov/yell/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm