Blacktail Fire was only 5 acres when suppression was ordered-

Although Yellowstone has had several “spot” fires this year, lightning caused the first real (potentially) large fire today.  The order to suppress it came when the fire was only about 5 acres in size.  It is burning between the  the gravel Blacktail Plateau Drive and the northern leg of the Grand Loop.

Meanwhile much larger fires are breaking out in the heavily forested country of Idaho and Western Montana now.  A strong monsoonal flow is moving in from the south beginning Friday for about 4 days. This could be full of lightning, but it also could drop a lot of water in places.  Which effect predominates will make a huge difference.

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Update July 15. The fire is not yet controlled. It has grown to 15 acres, but this is hardly a major fire.
Update July 25, 2012.  Rain helped control the fire at about 30 acres. Story: Yellowstone Park lifts fire restrictions after rain showers. Yellowstone Gate

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

2 Responses to Yellowstone Park gets its first forest fire of year

  1. Memories of Yellowstone fire behavior. I was camping on Yellowstone lake in a backcountry site watching The Promontory burn, on about day 4 a massive front moved in and it rained for 12 hours. The entire landscape changed before our eyes. That night there were thousands of campfire sized hotspots burning all over The Promitory, reflected flickerings easily seen 1.5 miles across the lake.
    Great to witness. Regretfully I have yet to make it back to walk the grounds of the rebirth.

  2. skyrim says:

    Fire, with it’s destructive elements has a cleansing element. Like many, I was stunned to think I may not see Yellowstone again in its glory after the fires of 88.
    The rebirth has been incredible to witness each Spring since those tragic days.


July 2012


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey