Yellowstone: West Thumb Closes After Solar Battery Fire

Yellowstone: West Thumb Temporarily Closes After Solar Battery Fire

Written by on September 12, 2022

Due to hazardous fumes coming from a burned solar battery, the entire West Thumb Geyser Basin is closed “until further notice” while park officials let time and weather clear the area.

On Monday, September 12, Yellowstone officials announced the West Thumb Geyser Basin, located in the southern part of the park, will be “closed until further notice due to hazardous conditions.”

On Tuesday, September 6, Northwestern Energy staff reported smoke coming out of a small building in the geyser basin. The building near the Yellowstone Forever bookstore houses a solar battery energy storage system.

Park structural fire crews were notified and dispatched to the location. While they did not see flames when they arrived, there was smoke billowing from the building.

The West Thumb Geyser Basin will stay closed until the batteries have fully discharged and fumes have dissipated from the area.

Battery fumes are corrosive and hazardous when inhaled. Because of this, park officials say closing the area is in the best interest of public safety.

The battery fire did not damage the exterior of the historic building.

Yellowstone’s structural fire crew will continue to monitor and evaluate the area. The geyser basin will reopen when it is deemed safe.

The geyser basin has closed twice in the past month due to sudden and unfortunate circumstances.

On August 16, park officials temporarily closed the West Thumb Geyser Basin after a human foot was discovered in the Abyss Pool. An investigation is ongoing to determine the circumstances surrounding the death, but no foul play is suspected.


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