Crews scramble to contain fires in Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks

Fire crews continue to monitor and work to contain the Index Fire, northeast of Yellowstone National Park. (InciWeb photo - click to enlarge)

Fire crews continue to monitor and work to contain the Index Fire, northeast of Yellowstone National Park. (InciWeb photo - click to enlarge)

From Staff Reports

UPDATED 4:55 p.m. Monday, July 16:

Friday morning, firefighters suppressed the tenth-acre Cygnet Fire, which was located near Cygnet Pond south of Colter Bay in Grand Teton National Park. Firefighters also suppressed the Tram Fire, which was reported July 12 on the west side of Cody Peak in the Park. While an illegal campfire ring was found in the burned area, an investigator determined the fire to be ignited by lightning. Teton Interagency Fire crews responded Sunday to the Shoal Creek Fire on the Big Piney Ranger District, approximately one mile east of Kozy Campground in the Hoback Canyon. The ¼-acre fire started from lightning that passed over the area July 11 and was discovered during an aerial reconnaissance flight on Sunday. Eight firefighters from Teton Interagency Fire were suppressing the fire.


CODY, WYO. — Fire crews in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks mobilized Thursday to contain a series of small fires sparked by lightning from mid-week thunderstorms, as well as one blaze that may have started from a campfire.

Though the fires are small and have not required road or campground closures, fire managers in the parks and on other nearby public lands are aggressively working to extinguish some fires that could potentially threaten buildings or other key resources. A dry, hot summer and high winds have created prime fire conditions across much of the region.

The Grand Teton public affairs office reports that three small fires in the Greys River Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest were started by lightning strikes.

The Blacktail Fire in Yellowstone National Park covers about 15 acres and is burning near the Montana-Wyoming border between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction. (Inciweb photo - click to enlarge)

The Blacktail Fire in Yellowstone National Park covers about 15 acres and is burning near the Montana-Wyoming border between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction. (Inciweb photo - click to enlarge)

The Box Fire, located above the Box Y Ranch, was burning in a single tree. Firefighters, supported by an engine and helicopter, suppressed the fire. The Sherman Fire is burning on Sherman Peak in the Salt River Range. Firefighters had contained the tenth-acre fire by 5:45 p.m. Thursday. The Grayback Fire, also a tenth of an acre, is located on Grayback Ridge near the boundary of the Jackson Ranger District. Firefighters were aided by bucket drops from a large helicopter capable of hauling about 700 gallons of water per load.

The cause of a fourth fire in the area, the Tram Fire, is under investigation after firefighters found an illegal campfire ring. The fire was discovered late Thursday afternoon behind the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort aerial tram on the west slope of Cody Peak, just inside the boundary of Grand Teton National Park.

Firefighters completed a fire line around the Tram Fire by 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and will remain on the fire until it is declared out. No trail closures were necessary.

In Yellowstone National Park, lightning sparked a small fire inside the northern  park boundary, along the Montana-Wyoming border, according to information provided by the Yellowstone public affairs office.

The Blacktail Fire was reported shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. It is located about a mile north of the entrance to Blacktail Plateau Drive, between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction.

By mid-day Friday, the fire was approximately 15 acres. Due to its location, dry conditions, and a forecast for dry thunderstorms Friday, the decision was made to suppress this fire.

Smoke may be visible at times from the road, and on the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout webcam.

The Blacktail Fire is the fifth fire reported in Yellowstone this year. The first fires of the season were all started by people and were less than a quarter-acre in size.

The Index Fire in the Shoshone National Forest northeast of Yellowstone Park continued to smolder Friday, covering about 223 acres. Started June 26 by a downed power line, the Index Fire is 70 percent contained, surrounded on all but the southern edge by rocky areas likely to help check its natural spread.

Recent scattered rain showers across the region have done little to reduce fire danger, which is still classified as very high in both parks. Various fire restrictions remain in effect on public lands across the region, and campers should check with local authorities for details before using stoves of building fires.

For information on the Blacktail Fire, visit the InciWeb fire information website or call 307-344-2580. For information on fires in the Grand Teton area, visit TetonFires.com or call 307-739-3630.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected]

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