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Old 08-26-2016, 06:32 PM   #1
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Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, Yellowstone fires

A small lightning started fire on the West side of Jackson Lake, near Berry Creek on July 25 flared up on Monday, Aug. 22 from strong winds. It jumped over the lake between Leek's Marina and Flagg Ranch, crossing the Rockefeller Highway. The YNP South entrance and U.S. 89/191 is closed north of Leek's Marina. From Yellowstone, you can't exit the South entrance and from Jackson Hole, you can't enter Yellowstone NP.

RVers, using WY 22 over Teton Pass Victor, ID, is not a good option. Teton Pass is one of the steepest passes in the West, parts are over 10% grade in either direction. The long alternative route is U.S. 26 which follows the Snake river through the mountains to Idaho. It's about 18 miles longer, but only about 14 minutes longer to drive. You'll have to find your way to U.S. 20 and enter YNP from the West Yellowstone, MT entrance.

The Berry fire is still burning, the highway will remain closed until the burnt trees on either side of the highway have been cleared and made safe.
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:27 PM   #2
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Here's a good fire site to monitor fires in all states. If you zoom out you'll see many fires in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area. Click on any of the fire symbols and you'll get a description of the fires. If you're heading that direction check for updates so you don't have road closures to deal with. Smoke will be an issue and if you normally have any breathing problems reconsider your stay. Good luck!

InciWeb the Incident Information System: Berry Fire
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:47 AM   #3
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Not the first time a small fire not taken care of, turned into a mess. Wait for the finger pointing.
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Old 08-27-2016, 10:21 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timetogo View Post
Not the first time a small fire not taken care of, turned into a mess. Wait for the finger pointing.
Only folks with no knowledge of wild fire, ecology, and science in general will object to the scope of this fire.

Starting in the early years of the last century, folks tried to suppress every fire that started. It became heroic to battle the fires. It also built up a massive load of fuel in the forests. In 1988 in Yellowstone it resulted in fires that consumed one third of the park. Natural fires recycle nutrients and make natural fire breaks for future fires.

In the greater Yellowstone area, the Lodgepole Pine makes up 80% or more of the forests. It is a tree with some interesting characteristics that promote fire. It grows tall and the lower branches droop downwards. In a dense stand of trees, dead trees often don't fall, they end up leaning against nearby trees. Fire can easily climb these 'ladder trees' to the crowns and burn with great heat, way off the ground. The Lodgepole pine has thin bark that gives little protection from fire. One of it's cone types is sealed with sap. This serotinous cone stores seeds until a fire passes. When the heat reaches 113º or so, the sap softens and the cone opens and releases it's seeds onto the nutrient rich soil below that now gets sunlight through the burned canopy. The tree reseeds itself. The new trees, grasses and shrubs that grow provide ground cover and food for large and small animals.

Since the 1960's, when these benefits of fire were recognized, forest fire fighting policy changed. The media coverage of '88 fires of Yellowstone made people think the whole park was going up in flames. Folks wanted the fires put out. Even President Reagan demanded control of the fires. They burned from June until September, millions were spent fighting them when finally snow put them out.

The Berry Fire was detected soon after lightning set it. It was in an uninhabited part of Grand Teton NP, far from roads and buildings. A wind storm caused it to skip across the lake and burn across the highway. The only building threatened is an abandoned historic fire lookout tower built in the 1930's which is being wrapped in foil.

A nearby fire has mostly run it's course about 60 miles from the Berry Fire. Called the Lava Mountain fire, it too was lightning caused. It did threaten hundreds of vacation homes in it's area. Over 12,000 acres burned, over 1,000 fire fighters, 0 buildings damaged.
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:41 PM   #5
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This is just one example of modern fire science:

The National Park Service has released a report about last summer’s Reading Fire in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California which, after being monitored for two weeks and burning 95 acres, grew to 28,079 acres, escaping the park boundaries. The fire started from a lightning strike on July 23, 2012 and was contained on August 22. For the first two weeks it was managed under a “Wildland Fire for Resource Benefit” strategy.

I realize wild fires are big money makers for some.
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Old 08-28-2016, 05:05 PM   #6
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Today Grand Teton NP says the highway might be opened sometime on Tuesday, Aug. 30. They have had dead trees fall onto the highway and are felling as many suspicious trees along the road as possible.

InciWeb the Incident Information System: Berry Fire News Release
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:47 PM   #7
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The highway was opened Tuesday morning. The south entrance to YNP is again open.

InciWeb the Incident Information System: Berry Fire Announcement
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:18 PM   #8
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NPS folks with no knowledge of wild fire don't understand how smoke affects folks living in it.

The NPS is run by people that have proven time after time their ignorance of fire, animal behavior, and display no compassion for folks that have worked hard to scratch out a living in the shadows of a National Park.

They import and put collars on wolves. When the wolves kill cattle, the Park Service kills a few "pet" wolves.

If someone is killed/injured or just bothered by a bear, bears are killed until they get the "right one".

I hope the leadership changes before its too late.
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