Current Fire Danger in Yellowstone National Park Is “Very High”
Written by Caleb Nelson on September 6, 2022
The parkwide fire danger level for Yellowstone is currently “VERY HIGH.”
There have been three wildland fires in the park this year: 1) The Obsidian Fire on July 20th, 2) the Telemark Fire on August 16th, 3) the Gray Fire on August 29th and all these fires have been declared “out or controlled.” Stay informed about current fire activity in Yellowstone by checking in with KODI Radio here.
As of now, there are no fire restrictions in place or planned in the park. YNP writes, “Campfires are only permitted within established fire rings in campgrounds and some backcountry campsites.”
Campfires must always be attended to and cold to the touch before abandoning, “Soak, stir, feel, repeat.” The Greater Yellowstone area is a “fire-adapted ecosystem.” YNP says, “Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of this area’s wildlife habitat and vegetation.”
Fire has always been a key element in shaping the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. According to the National Park Service (NPS), “several native plant species evolved adaptations so they survive and, in some cases, flourish after periodic fires.” Fire impacts ecosystem processes and this includes things like “nutrient cycling” and “plant community composition and structure.” NPS aims to restore fire’s role as a “natural process” in parks when possible.
In Yellowstone, NPS writes, “lightning may ignite dozens of forest fires during a single summer, but most of them go out naturally after burning less than half an acre. Others torch isolated or small groups of trees, become smoldering ground fires, and eventually go out on their own. On rare occasions, wind-driven fires have burned through large areas of forest, as in 1988, when multiple fires crossed more than one million acres in Yellowstone and on surrounding federal lands despite massive efforts to extinguish them. Without frequent small and occasional large fires to create a mosaic of plant communities in different growth stages, biodiversity declines and leaf litter and deadfall accumulate much faster than they can return nutrients to the soil through decay.”