WATCH: Montana Army National Guard Removes Stuck Front End Loader From Yellowstone National Park After Floods

by Shelby Scott

Yellowstone National Park endured historic levels of flooding earlier this summer. Altogether, it saw five inches of rain accumulate in just a few days. Cleanup efforts after the fact began months ago. However, Montana’s Army National Guard recently aided in pulling a stranded front end loader from one of the national park’s canyons after it became wedged in an inaccessible area during the floods.

Footage of the construction vehicle’s removal shows the machine airlifted by one of the National Guard’s helicopters, a CH-47 Chinook.

According to The Drive, the front end loader became stranded on Yellowstone National Park’s North Entrance Road in Gardner Canyon. The outlet states that the North Entrance Road was one of the roads most heavily affected by the June flooding. Mudslides and flash-flooding that resulted from heavy rainfall washed the equipment into the unreachable canyon.

Aside from the jaw-dropping footage, photos show that the helicopter airlifted the John Deere without its bucket and tires. Unsurprisingly, the removal of these necessary parts lightened the helicopter’s load significantly. However, national park officials estimate that the machine still weighed an impressive 21,000 pounds. The machine’s rescue was even more impressive as Doug Smith, who worked on the flight, said the load came close to the helicopter’s max load-bearing capacity. Further, National Guard crew members even stripped unnecessary equipment from the craft before pilots took the Deere on its first flight across the park.

Yellowstone National Park Emphasizes Fire Prevention Methods Amid Wildfire Season

Floods devastated various locations of Yellowstone National Park earlier this summer. But now, park officials must prevent other catastrophes, currently in the midst of wildfire season.

Wildfires have been burning for weeks in multiple states and regions of the U.S. though so far. In comparison, though, Yellowstone National Park has experienced just four wildfires this season. These include the Obsidian Fire, the Telemark Fire, the Gray Fire, and the Phantom/Pitchstone Fire. The first of these occurred on July 20th. The Phantom/Pitchstone Fire, the most recent of the four, broke out on September 6th. Two of the three previous fires ignited due to lightning. The third blaze broke out due to a car fire in a parking lot. So far though, officials have not yet determined the cause of the fourth blaze. Regardless, all four have either been declared out or contained.

Though wildfire season is in full effect, park officials have not yet declared any restrictions for visitors, nor do they have any planned. That said, they continue to encourage Yellowstone National Park visitors to keep campfires within the confines of established fire rings at all campgrounds as well as at various backcountry campsites.

Standard practices further state that fire rings should be cold to the touch before being left unattended and to always soak a campfire, stir its embers, and ensure that it’s not hot before leaving.