Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crews make progress on Yellowstone fire

From Yellowstone National Park:
Lighter winds and additional firefighters resulted in a day of significant progress on the LeHardy Fire in Yellowstone National Park.

Sparks from a downed powerline are the suspected cause of the fire, which started Wednesday afternoon near LeHardy Rapids along the park’s Grand Loop Road three miles north of Fishing Bridge.

The fire started in a powerline corridor which runs west of the road.
Gusty southwest winds cause the fire to move east, first jumping the road and then jumping the Yellowstone River. That prompted temporary closure of the road between Fishing Bridge Junction and Mud Volcano, which is south of Canyon Junction. The fire also cut electrical service to the Fishing Bridge and Lake area, which are currently running on a large generator.

Thursday’s firefighting efforts were focused on the west side of the Yellowstone River. Morning retardant drops from large air tankers and afternoon water drops from helicopters aided hand crews who spent the day constructing a control line along the fire’s west flank. The goal is to contain the fire on the west bank of the Yellowstone River in order to
reopen the road to visitor travel and restore commercial power. About 140
people are assigned to the LeHardy Fire, up from 67 on Wednesday night.

Mapping conducted after a late Thursday afternoon reconnaissance flight has resulted in a revised, lower fire size estimate of 505 acres.

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