Visitors to Yellowstone may enjoy seeing wildfire play its natural role in the park Saturday and Sunday. Warm dry days should pep up fires that have lain and smoldered since receiving about a half inch of rain last week.
None of the six fires in Yellowstone Park poses a threat to visitors. Skies should be clear and pleasant through the holiday weekend. Hardly a wisp of smoke came from any fire in the park Friday, although smoke from distant California fires settled in some areas north of Yellowstone.
Still, sunshine and humidities in the teens may make for more obvious fire presence this weekend. As fire builds a bit of momentum, a few trees may catch fire in areas visible to visitors. The 7090 acre Alum Fire, south of the Mud Volcano area, showed little smoke Friday and has not grown in a week. If the fire eventually approaches Grand Loop Road, Park officials would coordinate a road closure, a short term inconvenience to visitors, much like closing the road for a bison herd.
The one acre Caldron Fire east of the Yellowstone River is also visible from Mud Volcano. Lightning started that fire Thursday afternoon, but on Friday, puffs of smoke were rare. The 155 acre Druid Fire lies high on a ridge a few miles north of the Northeast Entrance Road above the Lamar valley. A remote camera is monitoring the Druid Fire, which has been inactive in recent days. Three other fires have also shown little activity, but lookouts, fire monitors, and aircraft will observe them until enough rain or snow falls to end the fire season.
Almost 500 lightning strikes hit the southeast side of Yellowstone Park Friday from one strong, short thunderstorm. No rain reached the Alum, Caldron, or Druid Fires, but the other three got wet. Recent lightning may smolder for a week before reigniting from very hot, windy weather.
Additional information can be found on the web at:
www.druidcomplex.blogspot.com - for updates as they become available
Facebook at YellowstoneNPS
Yellowstone National Park Website http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm