Washington flags at half staff in honor of fallen firefighter

Matt Rollins took this photo today of the flags at the Washington Memorial at half staff. They were in honor of Justin Beebe who was killed by a falling tree while fighting the Strawberry Fire in Great Basin National Park August 13 in eastern Nevada.

Justin Beebe flags half staff

Thanks Matt.

Five wildfires burning in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

The five fires have burned over 28,000 acres

Above: The Maple Fire, August 15, 2016. NPS photo.

(UPDATE at 9 p.m. MDT August 22, 2016)

(Tuesday morning August 23 we posted updated information about the Berry Fire and the closure of the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park.)

Earlier on Monday we repeated the information provided by the National Park Service that the roads in Yellowstone National Park remained open, in spite of the five ongoing fires in that park and just to the south, Grand Teton National Park. That changed Monday evening.

See the map below. The Berry Fire is in the north end of Grand Teton NP just south of the south entrance into Yellowstone NP. Highway 89 is the only way to enter Yellowstone on the south.

Normally from Moran, WY to Yellowstone Lake at Lake, WY, it is a 68 mile trip. With Highway 89 closed, detouring to the east would be a 344-mile journey. Detouring to the west would be 213 miles.

The Berry Fire is not listed in the national situation report. Park management decided to not aggressively suppress the fire, but to “monitor” and “manage” it.

The greater Yellowstone area is under a Red Flag Warning on Monday.

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There are five wildfires burning in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming and Montana, which together have burned over 28,000 acres. Four are being managed with a less than full suppression strategy, while one was aggressively attacked and has not been very active in the last 24 hours.

Northwest Wyoming is under a Red Flag Warning on Monday.

Officials in Yellowstone National Park emphasize that all roads leading into and through the park are open. Park visitor facilities, including park concession-operated services and businesses in the surrounding communities are not impacted by the fires and remain open.

map yellowstone fires grand teton national park
Fires in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, showing heat detected by a satellite. The red dots represent the most recent, seen at 3:11 a.m. MDT August 22, 2016.

Yellowstone National Park fires

  • Fawn Fire, 1,496 acres in the northwest corner of the park. Since it started August 4 it has been intermittently active and has been spreading during the last two days.
  • Maple Fire, 22,448 acres 4 miles east of West Yellowstone, Montana. It was first reported by personnel in a smokejumper aircraft passing over the park. The fire has come very close to US Highway 20, but has not crossed it. The highway leads to the west entrance into the park.  The fire has been active on most of its perimeter over the last 24 hours. Should smoke or fire activity increase, pilot cars may be used to safely escort vehicles through the area. 
  • Buffalo Fire, 2,279 acres, in the north-central part of the park, 3 miles northeast of Tower Junction (US Highway 212 and the Grand Loop Road) and half a mile south of the park’s northern boundary. The recent activity has been on the north edge of the fire. Since it was reported on August 13 it has been managed under a combination of monitoring and point-protection strategies.
  • Boundary Fire, 192 acres in Montana 5 miles north of West Yellowstone, Montana and very close to the park’s western boundary. Park personnel have actively suppressed this fire, and it has not been very active in the last 24 hours. A smaller Incident Management Team, a Type 4 team, assumed command Monday morning. Firefighters are mopping up and removing hazardous trees within the perimeter.

Grand Teton National Park

  • Berry Fire, 1,785 acres in the north end of the park, one mile west of the northern end of Jackson Lake, and 2 miles west of Highway 89 (providing photo opportunities for passing tourists). The fire has been active over most of its perimeter during the last 24 hours. It has been burning for almost a month and is now being managed by a Type 3 Incident Management Team which is planning for the expected growth of the fire. An objective of the Team is to “enhance the area’s natural resources where appropriate”. They further state, “The fire will be monitored and management actions will be implemented in advance of any potential impact on values at risk.” The fire has not required the closure of any roads.
Berry Fire
Berry Fire, Aug 15, 2016, NPS photo.

Red Flag Warnings, August 22, 2016

wildfire Red Flag Warning

The National Weather Service has posted Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches for areas in Oregon, California, Idaho, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

The Red Flag map was current as of 10:20 a.m. MDT on Monday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts and maps. For the most current data visit this NWS site.

Justin Beebe remembered at memorial service

Justin Beebe memorial serviceJustin Beebe was honored and remembered at a memorial service Saturday at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field in Missoula. Justin was killed by a falling tree August 16 during chainsaw operations on the Strawberry Fire in eastern Nevada.

Dick Mangan, who took these photos at the service, estimated that between 750 and 1,000 were in attendance, including what appeared to be virtually all of the Interagency Hotshot Crews in the Northern Region. Justin was a member of the Lolo Hotshots based in Missoula.

The Missoulian has a well written article about the memorial service.

Justin Beebe memorial service Justin Beebe memorial service

Red Flag Warnings, August 21, 2016

wildfire Red Flag Warnings

 

The National Weather Service has posted Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches for areas in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

The Red Flag map was current as of 11:22 a.m. MDT on Sunday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts and maps. For the most current data visit this NWS site.