Field Notes

Berry Fire Continues to Grow in Grand Teton National Park

by JasonAug 22, 2016
A Plume Of Smoke From The Berry Forest Fire In Grand Teton National Park Can Be Seen Rising Above The Lake

Moose WY— Teton Interagency Firefighters are actively monitoring a lightning-ignited fire in Grand Teton National Park on the northwest side of Jackson Lake. The Berry Fire, detected on July 25, 2016, is burning in a mixture of dead and down fuels and mature conifer forest. The fire is burning on Elk Ridge near Berry and Owl Creeks, approximately one mile west of the northwest shore of Jackson Lake. The fire showed considerable activity yesterday due to high winds and temperatures and low humidity. It is now 1,785 acres in size and burning actively with short range spotting and uphill runs. Fire managers anticipate that lower than average fuel moistures will continue to drive increased fire activity over the next few days.

The Berry Fire is being managed to accomplish objectives outlined in the Grand Teton Fire Management Plan, which allows naturally ignited fires to burn under specific management guidelines.Wildfire is a very natural and important part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Fire improves the overall landscape health by reducing fuel loading, releasing nutrients back into the soil and creating new habitat for plants and animals when allowed to perform its natural role. Fire has helped shape the environment that park visitors see today and influences the diversity of life found here.

Firefighters are actively monitoring the fire using both aerial and ground resources. They have established a camp near the fire in order to monitor fire activity and implement management actions as it affects values at risk. Structure protection around the historic Lower Berry Patrol Cabin has been put into place. Plans are also in place to initiate suppression actions if any direct threats to park infrastructure or visitor safety occur.  Presently there are approximately 25 firefighters assigned to manage the fire, including both ground resources and support staff.

The following sections of trail are closed in Grand Teton National Park. The Berry Creek Trail from the junction with the Glade Creek Trail travelling generally west to where the trail intersects with Hechtman Creek; and the north/south connector trail between Owl Creek and Berry Creek located on the west edge of Elk Ridge. Travel through these sections of trail is prohibited for public health and safety reasons in support of managing the Berry Creek Fire.

All other visitor services in the park remain open. Partial fire restrictions are currently in place in Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and Teton Interagency Dispatch area.  Campfires are only allowed in developed areas with fire grates. Visitors should never leave a fire unattended, and should prepare for the unexpected by having a water bucket and shovel on hand and ready to use. To report a fire, please contact Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630.

Smoke from the fire may be visible from the east shore of Jackson Lake and along US Highways 89/191/287. During the morning and evening hours, smoke may settle into low areas around park roadways.  Drivers should use caution when driving in smoky areas, including turning on headlights and reducing their speed.

Updates will be posted to www.tetonfires.com and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4954/. For more information, contact Berry Fire Information at 307.739.3566.

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Jason Williams

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