Yellowstone National Park Moves Fire Danger to ‘VERY HIGH’: What This Means

by Jon D. B.

Yellowstone National Park has had four wildland fires so far this year, and setting the fire danger to ‘VERY HIGH’ means more could be on the way.

The park’s Wildfire Season was declared just as September 2022 rolled in. So far, those four wildfires have been either declared our or contained. But park officials raising their awareness preparedness signals how serious the situation is. Below, we’re breaking down what this means for park visitation with information directly from park staff before diving further into what Yellowstone’s wildfire situation has been in 2022 so far.

Breakdown of Yellowstone National Park Fire Danger at ‘VERY HIGH’:

  • The parkwide fire danger level for Yellowstone is now VERY HIGH
  • Currently, there are no fire restrictions in place or planned in the park
    • But as always, 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
    • Remember: Soak, stir, feel, repeat
  • There have been three wildland fires in the park this year, and all have been declared out or controlled
  • The Greater Yellowstone area is a fire-adapted ecosystem
    • Fire plays an important role in maintaining the health of this area’s wildlife habitat and vegetation

2022 Wildfires So Far:

NameReported OnCauseAcresStatus
Obsidian FireJuly 20Vehicle0.1Out
Telemark FireAugust 16Lightning0.1Out
Gray FireAugust 29Lightning0.1Controlled
Phantom/Pitchstone FireSeptember 6Unknown0.1Controlled

Wildfires are becoming more frequent and severe across the planet. Yellowstone is no exception, as the park’s first fire came on July 20, a full month before Wildfire Season is typically declared (and before the park would declare it for 2022).

Thankfully, this fire would only reach a size of 0.1 acre before crews suppressed and declared it out that same day. A prime example of Yellowstone National Park’s fire prevention, this small fire could have sparked a catastrophe if not for quick response by park, local, and government fire crews.

The latest wildfire, the Phantom/Pitchstone Fire, ignited just a few days ago on September 6. Unlike the previous three fires, the source of this outbreak remains unknown. Both the Gray and Telemark Fires would ignite by lightning. And the first fire of the season, the Obsidian Fire, was started by a vehicle fire in a park parking lot.

Stay Informed on Yellowstone Fire Safety

If you or anyone you know is heading into Yellowstone National Park, staying informed on park fire safety is important at all times of year. But it becomes paramount during Wildfire Season.

As the season continues, fire-related closures may occur. If they do, the park will list each on InciWeb pages below. Closures affecting Yellowstone roads will also be available on the park roads page. Closures affecting park trails and trailheads are available on the backcountry situation report.

If you prefer to call, dial 307-344-7102 for regular recorded updates.

Stay safe out there, Outsiders! For more on park safety, see our Yellowstone National Park Safety: Best Practices to Safely Explore the First National Park next.