Yellowstone Fire Danger Jumps from Low to High in Two Weeks
Written by Andrew-Rossi on June 21, 2021
In two weeks, the fire danger in Yellowstone National Park jumped from Low to High – a foreboding sign for an increasingly hot and dry Summer 2021.
June 2021 has been hot and dry throughout Wyoming, and Yellowstone is no exception. As a result, much of the state has become a tinder box waiting for an errant spark that could ignite an inferno.
On Monday, June 14, Yellowstone officials raised the park’s fire danger from Low to Moderate. Within a week – Monday, June 21 – Yellowstone’s fire danger rose once again from Moderate to High.
According to the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildfire Assessment System, “a Fire Danger Rating level takes into account current and antecedent weather, fuel types, and both live and dead fuel moisture.”
Most of Wyoming and the Bighorn Basin is currently at High or Very High Fire Danger Levels.
According to park officials, there are no active wildfires within Yellowstone, as of June 21. Furthermore, there are no fire restrictions for campgrounds within the park.
Recent fires in Wyoming and Montana are signs it won’t take much for Yellowstone to dangerously ignite in Summer 2021.
The Robertson Draw Fire in Custer Gallatin National Forest, adjacent to Yellowstone, has burned nearly 30,000 acres in southern Montana. In just three days, the fire exploded in growth from 200 to 20,000 acres assisted by high winds and record-high temperatures.
Yellowstone National Park hasn’t had a major fire within its borders in several years. In the last five years, the park’s largest fire was 2016’s Maple Fire. Started by lightning, the Maple Fire burned over 51,000 acres before being fully extinguished.
The Lone Star Fire burned for months near Old Faithful during Summer 2020. Before it was naturally suppressed in Fall 2020, the lightning-caused fire consumed over 4,000 acres.
Despite the devastation caused by wildfires, natural fire is only a short-term hazard for Yellowstone.
The Greater Yellowstone area is a fire-adapted ecosystem. Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of this area’s wildlife habitat and vegetation.
Nevertheless, fires are entirely preventable during the summer months. Campfires are only permitted within established fire rings in campgrounds and some backcountry campsites within the park.
For the latest information on Yellowstone’s fire status and information on any current or past fires, check out the Current Fire Activity page on the Yellowstone National Park website. The most up-to-date information on active Yellowstone fires is posted on InciWeb.