People visiting Yellowstone National Park have been warned about the hazards that they could face in the area after a large wildfire blocked one of the entrances to the popular park. This wildfire, which incidentally has been burning in the nearby Grand Teton National Park for over a month, has inched closer toward Yellowstone and is now blocking the southern entrance, located near the popular resort town of Jackson, Wyoming. Yellowstone, however, is still accessible via two other entrance stations located near Cody and in Montana. According to a report by the USA Today, efforts are on to contain the wildfire by firefighters from the area who chopped down trees and searched for hotspots in an attempt to contain the flames.
A firefighter gives an update on the raging wildfire that has closed a highway into Yellowstone National Park pic.twitter.com/ICHwBgmQTY
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) August 28, 2016
— USA News (@1USNews) August 28, 2016
Meanwhile, wildfire managers from the region have confirmed that their current focus is to clear a highway threatened by the wildfire that leads to Yellowstone. The area is also home to several campgrounds, buildings, and archeological sites that need to be protected. They are also trying to ensure fallen trees do not injure people and that they do not cause flare-ups. While several firefighters are diligently fighting the wildfire, their jobs were made more difficult by strong winds that only added fuel to the wildfire.
— NWS Riverton (@NWSRiverton) August 28, 2016
According to Joel Dugger, who is associated with a wildfire crew based near Redding, California, he, along with six other firefighters, have been trying hard for close to two weeks to keep the fire contained. In an interview with local media stations, Joel said that they are trying to use existing green fir trees as a natural barrier to keep the fire contained. These trees, according to Dugger, are still green and can help slow down the spread of the fire.
Meanwhile, officials from the National Park Service have confirmed that the wildfire has resulted in the closure of Highway 89 that connects Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Both of the parks, however, remain open to visitors as of this writing. Officials are working on a plan to ensure that Highway 89 is fully open and operational by Tuesday. This is, of course, if climatic conditions remain favorable.
The wildfire near Yellowstone is already causing trouble for several visitors. Take the case of Linda Burroughs, who came from the town of Russell, Pennsylvania, with group of senior citizens. Linda says that they had to cut short their two-day trip to Yellowstone. Due to the fire, the group had to take a four-hour detour that consumed a better part of their day. The group stayed at a lodge in Jackson Lake, where they could see the smoke. The lodge is not under threat.
Meanwhile, officials have confirmed that there are more than a dozen active wildfires raging across western Wyoming and eastern Idaho. These wildfires have reportedly burned through more than 31,405 acres of forest as of Sunday. Officials from Yellowstone also talked about another fire that is spread across an area of over 49-square-miles. This fire started on August 8 and is a potential threat to the West Entrance road for the park which, as of now, remains open. However, if the wildfire intensifies, they may issue orders to escort visitors out of the area.
Have you been planning a trip to Yellowstone, if yes, has the news of this wildfire dampened your spirit?
[Image Via Pixabay]