At around 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, the Bacon Rind Fire saw a few minor flare ups, which isn’t surprising, according to an official with Custer Gallatin National Forest, who said that’s typically the hottest, most fire-friendly part of the day. This aerial shot shows how the Bacon Rind Fire has not yet spread into the green meadow adjacent to the flames. Fire conditions in this section of the Custer Gallatin National Forest were deemed “moderate” on Sunday, July 22. Driving it’s about 28 miles from Town Center down Highway 191 to where you can really see the Bacon Rind Fire. A rough outline of the Bacon Rind Fire as of 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. An aerial shot of the Bacon Rind Fire released by Gallatin County Emergency Management on July 22. Hurry up and wait. So far, dangerous conditions and no direct threats to life and property are keeping the Bacon Rind Fire crews idle at the Bacon Rind Trailhead. Attention hikers: The Bacon Rind Trail is closed. Custer Gallatin National Forest Public Information Officer Lacey England examines a map of the Bacon Rind Fire. Crew trucks from Custer Gallatin National Forest.At around 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, the Bacon Rind Fire saw a few minor flare ups, which isn’t surprising, according to an official with Custer Gallatin National Forest, who said that’s typically the hottest, most fire-friendly part of the day.  The Bacon Rind Fire is not a “crown fire,” but it is occasionally burning into the canopy of some trees. A view of the Bacon Rind Fire from Highway 191. See the smoke in the top left corner of the photo? This image was shot Sunday, July 22 from the Bacon Rind Trailhead.

More than 40 firefighters respond to Bacon Rind Fire

50-acre blaze south of Big Sky sees minor afternoon flare ups
“Right now, the fire is not threatening anything really and conditions on the hill are dangerous. There’s dead trees, snags that are falling down. We try not to put people in those situations if we don’t have to.”—Custer Gallatin National Forest Public Information Officer Lacey England

Two hand crews, including some from the Forest Service’s Sioux Ranger District based in Camp Cook, S.D., are posted up at the Bacon Rind Trailhead watching the blaze and waiting to deploy if necessary.

The Bacon Rind Fire is burning at around 9,000 feet on the border between Yellowstone National Park and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. It’s gradually charring a swath of ridge south of the Snowslide Creek drainage, just a mile as the crow flies from Highway 191.

That’s where Lacey England, public information officer with the Custer Gallatin National Forest, spent Sunday afternoon fielding questions from motorists who pulled over to look at the blaze.

England said the two, 20-person hand crews on scene are made up of firefighters pulled from Custer Gallatin National Forest—including some from the far eastern reaches of the forest near the border of South Dakota and Montana. Others are with the Helena Unit Initial Attack team from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

The firefighters watched from the trailhead as the fire occasionally flared up into the canopy of what appeared to be downed and dead lodge pole pines and Douglas firs. The Forest Service continues to fly observation aircraft out of West Yellowstone and so far the incident commander has chosen to not deploy the crews into the fire zone.

“We have a helicopter that’s been flying recon flights every day to take a look at it. And right now, we’re just assessing all of our options and trying to pick the best ones,” said England. “Right now, the fire is not threatening anything really and conditions on the hill are dangerous. There’s dead trees, snags that are falling down. We try not to put people in those situations if we don’t have to.”

England continued, “It’s in the wilderness. If it goes west, it’s just going to go farther into the wilderness. If it goes south or east it’s going to go into the park. And if it goes north, there is a private inholding to the north, the Black Butte Ranch.”

The ranch sits about five miles from the fire, said England, adding, “That private land is defensible. And we’ve been talking to them about fuel mitigation if necessary.”

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