A number of wildfires are burning in southwest Montana, with some of the largest being controlled as part of the Druid and Miner Paradise complexes. Updates are available below.

As of the morning of Friday, August 30, the Druid Complex in Yellowstone National Park was burning a combined 11,673 acres.

“As with all natural systems, balance is inevitable and the storm cell that dampened the persistent Alum Fire near Fishing Bridge village Thursday, also produced lightning that started at least one new wildfire in the park,” wrote park officials about the situation.

The only confirmed start, the Caldron Fire, was reported by eyewitnesses at the Mud Volcano and is located approximately 1.5 miles northeast of the Mud Volcano Area. Observed shortly thereafter by recon aircraft, the lightning ignited heavy, fallen fuels in a lodgepole pine stand. A second start is thought to exist southward in the LeHardy area, but that smoke was inconsistent and, to date, could not be verified.

The incident meteorologist recorded more than 700 cloud-to-ground strikes in the park yesterday afternoon, so additional starts elsewhere in the park should be expected.

All the individual wildfires within Yellowstone National Park’s Druid Fire Complex, now over two weeks old, continued to succumb to afternoon thunder showers and increased relative humidity. Friday will bring a drying weather pattern to the park region, lasting into the foreseeable future.

Currently no cultural or historic infrastructure in the park is threatened, and plans are in place to protect park visitors and assets should the unexpected occur.

The four other fires currently being monitored within park boundaries (the Druid, Alder, Passage and Snake) have shown minimal activity in recent days.

The park Web Cams are available here:

As of Friday morning, the Miner Paradise Complex in the Gallatin Range was burning approximately 11,897 acres between four fires. The Forest Service estimated the wildfires were 37 percent contained.

Closures around the Horsetail Fire in the Hyalite Recreation Area near Bozeman and the Sheep Fire in Tom Miner Basin near Gardiner were reduced, as of noon Thursday, Aug. 29. Find detailed information on each of these fires below.

FIRE INFORMATION:
Location: Sheep Fire in Tom Miner Basin, North Eightmile and Horsetail fires along Gallatin Crest, Emigrant Fire – 8 miles south of Emigrant

Combined Current Size:
Emigrant Fire: Approximately 10,770 acres, Sheep Fire: Approximately 570 acres, North Eightmile Fire: Approximately 414 acres, Horsetail Fire: Approximately 143 acres. Resources Assigned: 3 Hotshot crews, 4 20-person crews, 4 helicopters, and 3 engines.
Total personnel: 403. Additional resources will be demobilizing throughout today.

FIRE UPDATE:
Fire activity was light to moderate Thursday and that behavior is expected to carry over into today. Firefighters had a quiet day yesterday as they worked to secure edges of the fire and continued to mop up more areas along the fires’ perimeters.

FIRE NAME: Emigrant Fire

DATE OF DETECTION: July 21, 2013
CAUSE: Lightning
CURRENT SIZE: approximately 10,770 acres
CONTAINMENT: 35%
LOCATION: South of Emigrant Peak between Gold Prize Creek and North Fork Sixmile Creek
AGENCY: Gallatin National Forest
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: 3 Type 1 crew, 2 Type 2 IA crews, and 1 engine

FRIDAY’S PLANNED ACTIVITY: Firefighters will continue to seek out hot spots and mop up deeper into the interior on the southern, western and eastern edges of the fire.

THURSDAY’S ACTIVITY: Fire activity ranged from creeping and smoldering, to hot spots along the fire’s edge but remained minimal overall. Crews continued fire line construction and mop up along areas of the fire while placing direct handline on the southern edge of the fire and battling several hot spots.

CLOSURES & OTHER INFORMATION: The Emigrant Fire Closure includes National Forest System lands along the western boundary, north to National Forest System Lands around Chico in section 13, running east to the West Fork of the Mill Creek Road including Chico Peak. Trail # 78 Wicked Trail is closed. This closure extends south to Fish, Knox, and Thompson Lakes. Monitor Peak and trails leading to are also closed continuing west and including all National Forest System Lands directly adjacent to Dome Mountain WMA. The Monitor Peak Trail #61, Trail #62 to Knox and Fish Lakes along with Trail #33 bumping into Trail #60 to Monitor Peak from the South. A full map is available on Inciweb under maps. Additional Trail closures include the North Fork of Bear Creek #60, Knox Lake #64 and #279 Monitor Peak Connector Trail on the Gardiner and Yellowstone R.D.’s

The Forest Service portion of Sixmile Creek Road from its junction with the Dailey Lake Road will be closed until further notice. The Sixmile Creek Trail (#61) and North Fork of Sixmile Creek Trail (#606) will be closed to their junction with Trail #601 north of Monitor Peak.

People traveling near the Emigrant Fire Helibase are urged to be cautious of fire personnel and the helicopter operating near Conlin Road.

FIRE NAME: Sheep Fire

DATE OF DETECTION: Aug. 12, 2013
CAUSE: Lightning
CURRENT SIZE: approximately 570 acres
CONTAINMENT: 100%
LOCATION: Sawtooth Mountain in Tom Miner Basin, approximately 25 miles northwest of Gardiner
AGENCY: Gallatin National Forest
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: 1 Type 2 IA crew and 1 engine.

Firefighters achieved 100% containment yesterday on the Sheep Fire. Today,crews will continue to patrol the fire’s perimeter and walk along a grid looking for any smokes or hot spots.

CLOSURES & OTHER INFORMATION: Tom Miner Basin: The Tom Miner Basin Road leading up to and including the Tom Miner Campground was opened yesterday. As well as the upper Tom Miner basin that includes trail # 120 from Tom Miner Campground leading to Buffalo Horn Pass as well as the Sunlight Creek Trail # 291 will be opened. The Divide Creek Road #3250 will also be opened. An area around the Sheep Fire from Sheep Creek to the west and Grizzly Creek to the east and the Forest Boundary to the north and Yellowstone National Park boundary to the south will remain closed. This includes Horse Creek Trail #297 that leads to Shooting Star Lake

FIRE NAME: Horsetail Fire

DATE OF DETECTION: Aug. 11, 2013
CAUSE: Lightning
CURRENT SIZE: approximately 143 acres
CONTAINMENT: 0%
LOCATION: ½ mile north of Horsetail Falls, east of Flanders Mountain
AGENCY: Gallatin National Forest
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: 1 Type 2 crew

On Thursday, crews continued to monitor limited fire activity in Flanders Creek and pressure tested the hose lay established there. Today, the spike camp at Palisades will be taken down and crews will return to main camp. The fire will continue to be monitored with hose lays in place.

CLOSURES: Hyalite Recreation Area: As of yesterday, in the Hyalite Creek drainage, the public is allowed back into the West Fork of Hyalite Creek all the way to Hyalite Peak. This means Chisholm and Hood Creek Campgrounds, Maxey and Window Rock Cabins, as well as the Crescent Lake Trail and Palace Butte Trailhead that leads to Hyalite Peak and Grotto Falls will be open. The East Fork of Hyalite Creek will remain closed, including the Palisade Falls Trailhead and Picnic area, Emerald and Heather Lakes Trailhead and Flanders Creek drainage.

FIRE NAME: North Eightmile Fire

DATE OF DETECTION: Aug. 16, 2013
CAUSE: Lightning
CURRENT SIZE: approximately 414 acres
CONTAINMENT: 17%
LOCATION: North Fork Eightmile Creek, approximately 20 miles southwest of Livingston
AGENCY: Gallatin National Forest
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES ON THE FIRE: Unstaffed, air patrol.

The fire was monitored by aircraft yesterday and very little fire activity was observed from the fire. An aerial patrol will continue today.

FIRE WEATHER: Thursday saw widespread rain in the area which brought some relief to suppression efforts. Today’s weather will be drier with temperatures in the mid 70’s to mid-80’s. Residual moisture from Thursday’s showers should keep the humidity in the 17-26% range. Winds will be westerly at 10-15 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph on ridgetops. Extended forecast is for warm and dry conditions through Monday morning.

Cooperating Agencies: Custer and Gallatin National Forests, Park County DES and Sheriff’s Department, Gallatin Co DES and Sheriff’s Department, Paradise Valley Rural Fire, MT DNRC.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect for the Gallatin National Forest including the Absaroka –Beartooth Wilderness and the Beartooth Ranger District, Custer National Forest (excluding the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness). Park County implemented a burn ban for all outdoor burning effective Aug. 22.

For further information, visit inciweb.org.