Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8/27/13, 9:15am: Druid Complex Fire News Update

Overview:  The cooler temperatures and increased humidity that accompanied scattered thunderstorms in the park on Monday, resulted in another day of moderated fire behavior. Pockets of clear skies allowed fire managers to conduct an infrared flight in the early hours of Monday morning which showed minimal spread by the Alum and Druid fires over the past week. The total fire acreage for the complex is approximately 11,671 acres.Weather conditions allowed fire managers to fly the fires again on Monday afternoon; all were producing some smoke with the exception of the Passage Fire. The forecast for Tuesday includes more scattered thunderstorms.

There remains a chance for the weather to turn hotter and drier in the coming weeks, which could lead to an increase in fire activity. Firefighters continue to develop indirect firelines and implement structure protection measures as part of preparations to protect valuable resources and structures in the park.

Crews have begun collecting fuel moisture samples, which are a measure of the amount of water found in vegetation in the forest, to help determine how the fires might behave in the coming weeks. The fires will likely continue to play their part in the natural processes of maintaining the unique ecosystems found in Yellowstone into the fall.

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 continues to be visible from the road and from Mud Volcano as it works its way slowly east towards the Grand Loop Road. Firefighters and the public were able to see occasional torching - when fire runs up a single tree or group of trees.

Despite several consecutive days of cloud cover and rain, the northeast and southern edges of the fire continue to retain heat. It was fairly active today and produced smoke that was visible behind Mud Volcano. There is no imminent threat that the fire will cross the Grand Loop Road, and the road remains open, but travelers may encounter light smoke on the road. As of Monday afternoon, approximately 200 yards remained between the edge of the fire and the road. Public Information Officers will be available at Mud Volcano on Tuesday to help share information about the fire’s activity and answer questions.

While LeHardy Rapids, and several picnic areas and pullouts, as well as some backcountry trails in the area remain closed, other popular trails in the area remain open including Pelican Creek Nature Trail, Natural Bridge, Lake Village to Bridge Bay Trail, and the Lake Lodge Meadows Trail.

Skidders will continue to work on Tuesday to transport trees and other debris that were removed to create a fuel break between the fire and the Lake government housing area. Three to four loads a day are being hauled to a stacking area south of Bridge Bay. Visitors should be aware of increased truck traffic on the section of Grand Loop Road south of the housing area. Work continued to widen the contingency line northwest of Bridge Bay, scraping away ground fuels and linking several meadows together, forming an indirect line to stop potential spread southward.

Druid Fire: The Druid Fire is located high above the Northeast Entrance road on the north side of Druid Peak. The fire remained fairly quiet on Monday with only a little heat and smoke on the northern edge where it continues to back slowly downslope towards the Rose Creek drainage area. 

The Remote Access Weather Station (RAWS) system will be installed Tuesday to help fire managers monitor weather in the fire area. This information will assist crews as they continue to scout for potential places to hold the fire if it becomes more active and moves east toward Grand Loop Road and Pebble Creek Campground.  A remote camera was placed in the fire area to allow for safer, remote monitoring.

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 to be as long as the weather remains 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.fire.info@gmail.com
Follow us on Twitter @YellowstoneNPS
Find us on Facebook at YellowstoneNPS
Yellowstone National Park Website http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

 For a PDF version of this update click HERE

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