Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fire in Yellowstone NP

UPDATE @ noon, July 31

An unofficial source tells me the fire is now 900 acres, but that is not confirmed.


UPDATE @ 8:10 a.m. July 31

Yellowstone National Park is saying the size of the fire was 600 acres as of dusk Wednesday night. More information from the park:
Gusty southwest winds pushed the fire east across a section of the road about three miles north of Fishing Bridge near LeHardy Rapids, and then jumped across the Yellowstone River. Winds aligned with a creek drainage on the east side of the river prompted steady, rapid fire growth through the afternoon and into an evening.

Yellowstone National Park firefighters, West Yellowstone smokejumpers, two Type 1 air tankers from Billings, two helicopters, and fire engines from several surrounding areas are already assigned to the fire. Additional firefighting resources including two Type I hand crews are on order and are expected to arrive overnight and into the morning.

The weather forecast for Thursday calls for temperatures in the 70s, with humidity between 17 and 23 percent and afternoon winds from the southwest at 10 to 15 miles an hour with gusts to 25 miles and hour.

The LeHardy fire near the Yellowstone River at 4:10 p.m. July 30. National Park Service Photo.

7:48 p.m. July 30

Yellowstone National Park has a fire burning about 3 miles north of Fishing Bridge. The LeHardy fire jumped the Grand Loop Road and the Yellowstone River shortly after it started and as of 8:00 p.m. MT tonight is 650 to 900 acres. This makes four fires now in that part of the country.

Here is an excerpt from a Yellowstone News Release, issued at 4:45 p.m. MT today. Note that the fire has grown substantially from the 5-10 acres at 4:00 p.m.

A fire caused by a downed powerline and fanned by gusty afternoon winds, has led to the temporary closure of a section of the Grand Loop Road north of Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.

The fire started in a powerline corridor which runs west of and parallel to the road near LeHardy Rapids, which is along the Yellowstone River about 3 miles north of Fishing Bridge Junction.

Winds have pushed the fire to the east, where it has crossed the Grand Loop Road and subsequently jumped across the Yellowstone River.

As of 4:00 pm, the LeHardy Fire is estimated at 5 to 10 acres. Yellowstone National Park firefighters are on scene with two fire engines and a water tender. Additional firefighting resources have been ordered including smokejumpers, additional engines, and helicopters.

A few miles out ahead of the fire to the east are the the East (18,050 a.) and Grizzly (4,460 a.) fires of 2003, and to the southeast, the the Columbine 1 fire (18,500 a.) of last year. Since it was caused by humans, it most likely will be suppressed.

Click on the photo (centered over Wyoming) below to see a larger version.

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