More than 40 firefighters respond to Bacon Rind Fire
50-acre blaze south of Big Sky sees minor afternoon flare ups
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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