Yellowstone National Park Has Already Contained 3 Fires Ahead of Declaring Wildfire Season

by Jon D. B.

With parkwide fire danger level set to HIGH, Yellowstone officials are closely monitoring the national park for further wildfires.

Fires have been sparse in Yellowstone since the first of 2022 hit on June 20. Yet the park has already contained three wildfires ahead of officially declaring Fire Season. Ignition and continued burning of the Gray Fire on August 29 by lightning, however, has pushed officials to set the park fire danger level to HIGH.

Currently, there are no fire restrictions for visitors in the park. But this may change at any time as Yellowstone staff monitor conditions. If visiting the park, keep an eye out for new restrictions if wildland fuels continue to dry out.

In their media update sent to Outsider, Yellowstone National Park (YELL) offers details on the three fires that have led up to declaring Fire Season.

Gray Fire

  • Wildland fire detected Aug. 29 by a passing aircraft
  • This 0.1-acre lightning-ignited is located about 1 mile east of the Fawn Pass Patrol Cabin, just south of the Fawn Pass Trail

Thankfully, Yellowstone’s Helitack crew was able to contain the fire, and no emergency closures are anticipated.

Telemark Fire 

  • West Yellowstone Smokejumpers reported the first lightning-ignited wildfire of the year on the evening of Aug. 16
  • Located west of U.S. Hwy 191 between mile markers 17 and 18 near a segment of the highway that runs through Yellowstone National Park
  • The fire is approximately 10 feet by 10 feet in size and was burning in brush and timber
  • There were no open flames

Telemark Fire was suppressed by a U.S. Forest Service engine crew out of the Hebgen Ranger District. Crews continue to monitor this area until it is deemed out.

“Yellowstone thanks the crews from the Hebgen Ranger District and the Custer Gallatin National Forest for their continued support on fires through an interagency partnership,” the park offers of this victory.

Obsidian Fire

  • This was the first fire of the 2022 season
  • Began as a vehicle fire in a parking lot at Old Faithful on July 20
  • Flames moved from the burning vehicle to the grass and burned a nearby pine tree

Obsidian Fire began the 2022 fire season, but only reached a size of 0.1 acre before crews suppressed and declared it out in the same day. This is a prime example of fire prevention, as this sort of outbreak could easily spark a catastrophe if not for park, local, and government fire crews staying alert.

Stay informed on Yellowstone National Park Fire Danger

All of the above in mind, Yellowstone officials wish for the public to know the following:

  • Remember, the parkwide fire danger level for Yellowstone is HIGH
  • Park staff may put restrictions in place if wildland fuels continue to dry out
  • Campfires are only permitted within established fire rings in campgrounds and some backcountry campsites
  • Campfires must always be attended and cold to the touch before abandoning
    • To do so: Soak, stir, feel, repeat 
  • The Greater Yellowstone area is a fire-adapted ecosystem, and fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of this area’s wildlife habitat and vegetation

To stay up-to-date on fire activity in Yellowstone National Park, see their NPS updates here.