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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Yellowstone Sees Record Visitation In 2015

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park marked a record 3 million visits in the first eight months of 2015. With four months left in the calendar year, the park is on track to have one of its highest visitation years on record.

August visitation numbers are up nearly 11 percent above last year, and, year-on-year, Yellowstone has seen 15 percent more visitors this year than over the first 8 months of 2014.

Each of the park’s five entrances show an increase in vehicles for the month of August compared to 2014 levels.

Wildfire activity is generally low in Montana at the moment, but Yellowstone National Park officials say a new fire, likely caused by lightning was discovered in the park yesterday. It’s estimated to be a tenth of an acre in size and located in a wooded area ten miles west of Fishing Bridge in the central portion of the park.

Park officials say the fire is smoldering and creeping through a mixed conifer forest, and that it is not threatening any structures or roads. The park plans to monitor it and allow it to play its natural role in the ecosystem. There are currently no area closures due to the fire. The fire danger in Yellowstone National Park is currently listed as High.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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