Yellowstone Lessens Fire Danger As Eventful Fire Season Wanes
Written by Andrew-Rossi on October 19, 2020
More moisture has moved into the Greater Yellowstone area, meaning the park’s fire danger is slowly reducing after a relatively busy season for the park.
On Monday, Oct. 19, Yellowstone reduced the park’s fire danger to moderate due to widespread precipitation moving into the park’s boundaries. There are no fire restrictions within the park at this time, although campfires are still restricted to fire rings in campgrounds and at some backcountry campsites.
Yellowstone’s fire danger was raised to High on July 17 and raised to Very High on Aug. 17. There were no active wildfires at the time.
There is only one fire within still burning in Yellowstone– the Lone Star Fire. Ignited by a lightning strike on August 22, the largest fire in the park this year has burned through 4,118 acres in the vicinity of the Lone Star Geyser, three miles south of Old Faithful.
Regular updates on the Lone Star Fire haven’t been posted since Sept. 24. The last daily update was posted on Sunday, Sept. 6.
There are still “isolated smoldering pockets of heat” but otherwise the fire has not seen any significant growth or changes in the last few weeks. Firefighters anticipated this, as the anticipated containment date has been set at 12 p.m. on Oct. 30 since the fire began.
The Wyoming Type 3 team on-site mainly focused their firefighting efforts on the establishment of fire lines and fuel reduction around infrastructure at Old Faithful and other areas potentially within the fire’s reach. Efforts to directly combat the flames were minimal.
Park officials were confident weather and precipitation would be more effective at stopping the fire than a concentrated effort, and that has proven to be true. The estimated date of containment has been listed as noon on Oct. 30 since the fire began.
As more rain and snow fall on Yellowstone, the Lone Star Fire will be completely extinguished.
The only other fires of note during Yellowstone’s summer were all small, less than an acre in size. The wildfire season began when two small fires were reported in early August
20202’s first fire was spotted near the Mirror Plateau on Aug. 1. Precipitation fell in the area and the fire was stopped almost immediately.
The second fire was several hundred yards south of Soda Butte in the Lamar Valley on Aug. 3. Due to its location, it was promptly suppressed by Yellowstone fire staff.
The last reported fire was the Hancock Fire, discovered by a backcountry patrol in late September. It was less than an acre in size and the only loss appeared to be a tree stump.
All the reported fires in Yellowstone this season seem to have been started by lightning strikes, rather than human activity. Park officials are keen to ensure it stayed that way.
Anyone still camping in the backcountry or elsewhere need to make sure their campfires are fully extinguished and cool to the touch before abandoning them, and never leave their fires unattended.