Sunday, September 1, 2013 – 9:00 a.m.
Fire is a natural process that creates the park landscape. Two-thirds of Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres have burned since 1880. Lodgepole pine trees, the most abundant trees in the park, depend on fire to regenerate. Fire is not an enemy of the forest, but plays a welcome role when occurring on a natural cycle. The park sees about 65 fires in an average year, and 90% are lightning caused. Firefighters manage lightning fires in Yellowstone to protect people and developed areas, but often do not control fires. Many fires stay small, but hot, dry, and windy weather promotes the spread of wildfire.
Near the Mud Volcano area, the Alum Fire (pronounced AL-umm) woke up Saturday following about ten days of dormancy. The fire, resurrected by abundant sunshine and low relative humidity, had single trees and groups of trees burning on both the north and east flanks. Saturday’s sunny and dry weather will prevail Sunday, with even lower relative humidity. Firefighters may see greater activity in the fire. Still, fire in Yellowstone Park represents only a fascinating facet of nature: not a threat, just a possible inconvenience.
The closest road corridor to the Alum fire is the Grand Loop Road between Canyon and Fishing Bridge. Sunday, the fire may approach Grand Loop Road in the afternoon. If smoke or fire renders the corridor unsafe, that section may require pilot cars or a temporary road closure. The detour for travel would be via Old Faithful, about a three-hour (85-mile) drive. Traffic would be redirected using electronic signs and park personnel posted at key intersections. These measures would be taken purely to enhance public safety. If the fire does not come near, the road will remain open. Notice of any changes is posted on the park’s travel information line: 307-344-2117.
The Caldron Fire, started by lightning last Thursday east of the Yellowstone River near Mud Volcano, was not showing smoke today. The Druid and Alder fires showed some smoke but did not grow.
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