Five-Acre Wildfire Reported in Yellowstone National Park

Five-Acre Wildfire Reported in the Northwest Corner of Yellowstone National Park

Written by on September 29, 2022

Yellowstone National Park’s largest wildfire of the year is in a remote corner of the park – although winter weather will likely keep this late summer season blaze under control.

On the afternoon of Sept. 27, individuals reported seeing smoke in Yellowstonewhile hiking in Tom Miner Basin, Montana. The Montana recreation area is located just north of Yellowstone National Park’s northwest boundary.

Yellowstone’s helicopter crew flew the area that evening and spotted a new fire, likely ignited by lightning several days prior.

Courtesy National Park Service & Doug Kraus

Estimated at five acres, the Big Horn Fire is in very steep, rugged, and rocky terrain in the remote northwest corner of the park.

Fire crews will monitor the Big Horn Fire from Tom Miner Basin and the air. Thankfully, the potential for flames to leave the park is very low.

Forecasted snow and rain will likely significantly slow the fire’s growth over the next ten days. A weather pattern like this could be a fire season-ending event, but only time will tell.

Because of its proximity to the fire, Backcountry campsite WE4 will be closed for the rest of the season. See the Backcountry Situation Report for details.

Yellowstone’s parkwide fire danger level lowered from Very High to High earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Yellowstone National Park’s parkwide fire danger level dropped from Very High to High. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildfire Assessment System, “a Fire Danger Rating level (factors in) current and antecedent weather, fuel types, and both live and dead fuel moisture.”

Yellowstone’s fire danger has been High since July 20. The level was elevated to Very High on Sept. 6.

The Big Horn Fire is the seventh wildfire reported in Yellowstone National Park in 2022.

Three fires from earlier this summer were less than an acre in size and quickly extinguished. None of the fires reported in 2022 – including the ongoing Big Horn Fire – have incident pages on InciWeb, the interagency all-risk incident information management system mainly used to share details of ongoing wildfires.

Gray Fire

Yellowstone officials detected the Gray Fire via a passing aircraft on Aug. 29. The 0.1-acre lightning-ignited fire was located about one mile east of the Fawn Pass Patrol Cabin, just south of the Fawn Pass Trail.

The park’s Helitack crew immediately responded and contained the Gray Fire. As a result, there were no closures.

Old Faithful

Obsidian Fire

The season’s first fire began as a vehicle fire in a parking lot at Old Faithful on July 20. Flames moved from the burning vehicle to the grass and burned a nearby pine tree.

Fortunately, the Obsidian Fire was under 0.1 acre in size. As a result, the blaze was suppressed and declared out on the same day.

Telemark Fire

The Telemark Fire was located west of U.S. Hwy 191 between mile markers 17 and 18 near a highway segment that runs through Yellowstone National Park. West Yellowstone Smokejumpers reported the wildfire on the evening of Aug. 16.

The fire was approximately 10 square feet, burning in brush and timber. There were no open flames when fire crews responded to the area.

A U.S. Forest Service engine crew out of the Hebgen Ranger District in Custer Gallatin National Forest suppressed the fire. Crew monitored the area until the Telemark Fire was completely extinguished.

Here are the dates, causes, and sizes of the seven wildfires reported in Yellowstone in 2022.

Obsidian Fire July 20 Vehicle 0.1 Out
Telemark Fire August 16 Lightning 0.1 Out
Gray Fire August 29 Lightning 0.1 Out
Phantom/Pitchstone Fire September 6 Unknown 0.1 Controlled
Glen Fire September 8 Lightning 0.1 Controlled
Geode Fire September 8 Lightning 0.1 Controlled
Big Horn Fire September 27 Lightning 5 Monitored

Stay informed about current fire activity in Yellowstone National Park on the Current Fire Activity webpage on the National Park Service website.

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