Fire and Fixes Cause Delays at Old Faithful
Written by Andrew-Rossi on September 11, 2020
There are several impediments currently affecting the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone National Park.
The Old Faithful Overpass Bridge was closed on July 22 due to structural concerns. At this point, the bridge remains closed to public traffic as National Park Service engineers evaluate the bridge’s condition and make repairs.
This work includes deck repairs, new approach slabs, new curbing, girder repairs, railing improvements, and the removal and replacement of deck drains.
That work is likely to continue for the remaining weeks of the summer season, with a projected completion date of October of this year – so long as the weather cooperates. Every other amenity in the Upper Geyser Basin – the lodges, stores, clinic, and gas station – are still accessible as traffic is being rerouted around the bridge.
Meanwhile, the Lone Star Fire continues burning south of the basin. Fire mitigation efforts, such as the removal of trees and dense vegetation, continue in the vicinity of Old Faithful to provide a fire barrier should the flames change their present course.
The Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb is currently open, but closures are still possible and can occur without warning if the smoke from the Lone Star Fire becomes hazardous for drivers.
Due to the sheer number of fires in the western states, the nation is currently in Preparedness Level 5 – the highest level of fire activity and the demand for firefighting resources.
Fire danger throughout Yellowstone remains Very High. If another fire should ignite, it could easily grow larger and be more difficult to combat. Visitor responsibility is of paramount importance, now and for the rest of 2020.