Progress made in fighting Yellowstone fire

The Maple Fire burns through grass meadows and trees in Yellowstone National Park.  

Associated Press

The south entrance to Yellowstone National Park remained closed due to fire activity Thursday morning but all other entrances and roads inside the park are open to visitor traffic.

The blaze in Grand Teton National Park shut down a route leading to Yellowstone's South Entrance earlier this week, so visitors coming from the south through Wyoming will have to take an hourlong detour into Idaho. The situation is being monitored and there is no anticipated time for the road to reopen, said Sandy Snell-Dobert, Yellowstone National Park spokesperson.

Four other entrances to Yellowstone are open, and once inside the world's first national park, visitors won't notice much is unusual other than a smoky haze in some parts of the sprawling park.

"The park attractions and the events scheduled are going off as planned," Yellowstone fire spokesman Bill Swartley said. "There is no impact from the fire that is affecting those events, the centennial events, through the weekend."

They include a visit Thursday evening by U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at the North Entrance.

The only restriction for visitors inside Yellowstone is the road leading to the south exit has been blocked off at Lewis Lake because of the closure, Swartley said.

The Montana Department of Transportation announced Thursday morning that the Beartooth Pass reopened completely after its partial closure on Wednesday due to snow. The road runs from Red Lodge to the park's northeast entrance near Cooke City-Silver Gate.

The department warned of wet and slushy conditions atop the nearly 11,000-foot pass.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.