Yellowstone National Park has been through a lot the past few weeks, and it hasn’t gotten any better. A new wildfire was spotted in the park.
Visitors in Tom Miner Basin, Montana, which contains the northwest area of the park, reported seeing smoke in the area. Later that evening, a helicopter went out to the area to investigate, and they saw a new fire. It is stated in the news release that they believe the new fire started after being igniting by lightning several days before it was spotted on Tuesday, September 27.
The release also provides more updates on the situation: “Fire crews will monitor the wildfire from Tom Miner Basin and the air since the potential for it to leave the park is very low. Forecasted snow and rain will likely significantly slow its growth over the next 10 days. A weather pattern such as the one expected could also be a fire season ending event.”
The wildfire comes months after a huge flood that took place earlier this summer in June. The flood led to “historic water levels,” and many entrances to the park were closed. About three weeks later, the south and north loops of the park reopened to the public.
Associated Press tweeted a video of the flood with the caption: “Video near Yellowstone National Park shows a house falling into the raging Yellowstone River on Monday. Heavy rain and melting snow have caused flooding, damage and triggered evacuations in and around the park.”
Because of this, though, the number of visitors last month in the park were very low. Yellowstone’s website shared the numbers of the last few years to compare.
“So far in 2022, the park has hosted 2,446,982 recreation visits, down 32% from 2021 at the same time” the website reads.
Yellowstone National Park Struggles to Reopen After Flood
The park gave itself a deadline to open back up with repaired roads, October 15. However, the park is struggling to meet this deadline.
Park superintendent Cam Sholly spoke to MTN News about the situation.
“We set a very aggressive target and I think that people need to understand that this is not easy,” Sholly said.
However, Sholly still has high hopes that the park will reopen by its own deadline.
“The fifteenth is still doable. We’re always said we’ll continue to do work after the fifteenth, but we want to make sure it’s safe,” Sholly said. ““In a normal project, you’ve got normally years to do something like this. You’ve got years of planning and engineering that went into it. And, you know, we did that in weeks.”
The October 15 deadline is still a few weeks away, so the park still has more time before reopening.