The historic Mount Holmes Fire Lookout burned in Yellowstone National Park Tuesday after being struck by lightning. It had not been regularly staffed since 2007. The fire was reported Tuesday by the employee who staffs the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout.
The lookout is in the northwest corner of the park southwest of Mammoth Hot Springs.
The structure fire also damaged a park radio repeater.
Wednesday morning, July 17, three employees including the park fire chief attempted to fly to the 10,000-foot lookout via helicopter to assess the damage. However, the flight was diverted to a higher priority incident outside the park. While en route, the helicopter manager snapped a photo of the burned lookout. Wednesday afternoon, staff attempted to fly to the lookout again but were grounded due to strong winds. Additional attempts will be made in the next few days.
“Built in 1931, and renovated in 1998, the Mount Holmes Fire Lookout maintained its historic-era role as one of Yellowstone National Park’s staffed lookout stations until 2007″,said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney. “The building was eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, both for its significance in early park resource protection efforts, and as an outstanding example of the rustic architectural style that typified early park architecture. We are disappointed that this historic structure, as a window into the past, is gone.”
The Mount Washburn Fire Lookout is currently staffed seven days a week, mid-June through mid-September. If warranted, three additional lookouts can be staffed.
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A wildfire 10 miles southwest of Mayer, Arizona (see the map below) has burned about 7,000 acres in the Prescott National Forest. According to the National Situation Report the agency is not intending to fully suppress the fire, but instead is managing it to enhance the natural resources. They will take action as needed to herd it around or protect values at risk.
Believed to have been started by lightning, it was reported on July 14 burning in grass and brush but is spreading northeast into ponderosa pine west of the Senator Highway (FR 52).
A Type 1 Incident Management Team is expected to assume command of the fire Thursday, July 18 at 6:00 am.
As a precaution the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office issued a Code Red for the community of Pine Flat. The ‘SET’ alert was issued last night by the Sheriff’s Department. There are NO evacuations currently in effect. For information on the Code Red issued call (928) 771-3321.
The US Forest Service and the Air Tanker Base at Prescott Regional Airport expects heavy aircraft activity out of airport over the next couple of days as they continue to assist with the fire.
Forest managers and wildland firefighters will often use the word “fuels.” What are fuels? It’s both the living and dead vegetation in a forest that can potentially burn in a wildfire. David Peterson, biologist for the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, explains in this 80-second video how reducing fuels helps to reduce the intensity of wildfires.
A wildfire just east of Springville, Utah (see the map below) burned 167 acres before it was stopped by firefighters yesterday. At Wildfire Today we don’t often devote an article to a fire this size, but the Round Peak Fire is notable in two ways. One, that the U.S. Forest Service employed a different strategy from what they used last summer on the Bald Mountain and Pole Creek Fires about 8 miles to the south. Those fires were initially managed to accomplish resource management objectives. In other words, they were not suppressed, just herded around. As the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest inadequately considered fuel moistures, drought, and the weather forecast, the two fires merged and burned over 120,000 acres forcing evacuations of communities.
But the Round Peak fire, ignited by a campfire at 9:30 p.m. July 15, was suppressed. The resources the Forest Service used included 4 hand crews, 2 helicopters, 4 Single Engine Air Tankers, 1 large air tanker (MD-87), and 1 Very Large Air Tanker (DC-10).
In the video below it is difficult to determine what type of fixed wing aircraft it is, but it appears to be a DC-10, especially considering the length of the drop.
In addition to the Forest Service aggressively attacking this new fire, another reason we are writing about this fire is that numerous photos of the fire are available, supplied by Utah Fire Info and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Wildfire activity is moving north. Of the 26 new fires reported over the past two days in Alaska, ten were above the Arctic Circle. Isolated thunderstorms are expected in the central and eastern interior today, Tuesday, with high temperatures reaching the low 80s in the Yukon Flats area.
Fifteen new fires were reported across Alaska Monday. Twenty-three fires are actively burning in the Tanana Zone today, with a total of 30 fires reported this year.
In addition to the fires in Alaska, on July 10 a satellite detected heat signatures in Greenland that were consistent with those seen at wildland fires. And another satellite photographed what appears to be smoke.
6 VIIRS active detections (nominal confidence) for 10 July 2019. Location (66.991 N, -53.192 W) very near Arctic Circle Trail public hut. See the 8 July 2019 @planetlabs 3-band image of fire area & map w/ relation to 2017 fire location + 2 fire detects in Avannaata. pic.twitter.com/cpIazDSBFX