Riverbottom Fire Sparked by Passing Lightning Storm

Riverbottom Fire Sparked by Passing Lightning Storm

Wyoming Public Lands Day has become a law after Governor Mark Gordon signed HB 99 today.

Riverbottom Fire Sparked by Passing Lightning Storm
Pine, apsen, cottonwood, and willow grow on the forested floodplain of the Snake River. USGS photo

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK — On Monday afternoon, August 3, Teton Interagency firefighters responded to a report of a smoke column rising from the Snake River floodplain, just west of the Triangle X Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. During a fast-moving thunderstorm, a bolt of lightning struck a single blue spruce and ignited a smoldering fire in the duff (forest litter of needles and cones) at the base of the conifer. The Riverbottom Fire is currently .10 acre in size and limited to the base of the tree.

The Riverbottom Fire lies within the conditional Fire Use Zone identified in Grand Teton National Park’s Fire Management Plan, and consequently can be managed for multiple objectives, including its potential for resource benefits—as long as it is safe to do so. While the fire will be allowed to play its natural role, Teton Interagency fire personnel will monitor its activity and plan for potential protection of park facilities that may be at risk should this fire significantly increase in size.

At this time, the fire is located in an area that is currently closed to all public entry for wildlife protection; it is not endangering any wildlife located within this closure area. In addition, the fire is not threatening any park structures, nor impacting visitor access to river locations, hiking trails, or developed areas in the park.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

The fire danger in Grand Teton National Park is currently rated Moderate. Recurring rain events and thunderstorms during June and July have kept vegetation wetter and greener than is typical for this time of year. Unlike other locations throughout the western states, a wet and moisture laden weather pattern has dominated both Grand Teton and the greater Jackson Hole area. This current weather pattern has created much different conditions from the extreme drought found elsewhere across the West, such as northern California.

In 2009, the lightning-caused Snake Fire was allowed to burn naturally in similar fuels north of Schwabacher’s Landing. Ultimately, the fire grew to only a quarter acre in size and was dowsed by rain a few weeks later.

Area residents and visitors are requested to report any sightings of any new fire or smoke by calling 911 or Teton Interagency Dispatch at 307.739.3630.