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Officials monitor active fires in Yellowstone National Park

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Aug 21 2013 07:13:51 PM MDT
Updated On: Aug 21 2013 08:59:28 PM MDT
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -

The Alum fire is one of three active fires burning in Yellowstone National Park. It is just one of many impacting folks in Southwest Montana.

We went to Yellowstone to get the facts about the status of these fires. The largest fire in the park, the Alum fire, has blown up to 7,500 acres. It has forced the park to close popular features like the Mud Volcano and Lehardy Rapids.

We spoke with Al Nash Wednesday. He is the Public Information Officer for Yellowstone. He showed us around the area where firefighters are checking in. Nash estimates they have 150 personnel on-scene.

"We have more equipment and more personnel coming in by the hour," said Nash.

He says while there are no planned evacuations now, they are prepared. "We need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario," said Nash.

Yellowstone can see between 20,000 to 30,000 visitors on any given day.

Melissa Ainsworth and her husband are visiting from Utah. They were just beginning their day when we caught up with them Wednesday morning. Ainsworth says coming from Utah they are used to wildfires, but didn't necessarily come to Montana to see them.

"We came to get out of the heat, and away from -- well we have fires too -- so a little disappointed when we got here and there were fires everywhere," said Ainsworth.

They are staying outside of the park in the Paradise Valley, even there they cannot escape the smoke.

"In the morning, it was really smoky and felt like we were at a big campfire," said Ainsworth.

Back at Yellowstone headquarters, park officials like Nash are paying close attention to changing conditions. They are ready to take action and assign resources to the areas that need it most to protect people in the park.