September 28, 20095:30 p.m. (MDT)
Teton Interagency firefighters continued fire suppression on the southeast flank of the Bearpaw Bay Fire in Grand Teton National Park throughout Monday, September 28. The fire was mapped during a mid-morning flight with a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and determined to be 2,844 acres.
Throughout Monday, fire managers again used one heavy helicopter (700-gallon capacity) to make water bucket drops on the southeast segment of the fire. Two fire engines (one from Sublette County and one from Grand Teton), as well as water tender from Grand Teton, continued to extinguish spot fires and hot spots along the Teton Park Road and Spalding Bay Road. Fire support from the Unified Fire Authority out of Salt Lake City and a Hot Shot crew from Carson City, Nevada continued to support firefighting activities as they have for the past two days. The Leigh Lake backcountry patrol cabin was partially wrapped in fire retardant material as a precaution; however, the fire did not reach the cabin. Fire suppression remains focused on the southeast flank of the fire to prevent it from advancing further east and into old growth lodgepole pine forests. Weather forecasts call for windy conditions on Tuesday, September 29, in advance of a cold front.
The eastshore trail along Leigh Lake is closed due to the proximity of the fire, as are several backcountry campsites on Leigh, Bearpaw and Trapper lakes, and the lakeshore campsites in the Spalding Bay area of Jackson Lake. The Teton Park Road is open and has remained open throughout the recent fire activity (with the exception of one hour on Friday evening, September 25).
Heavy smoke blanketing the Jackson Hole valley is the result of fires in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, as well as prescribed burns on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Individuals with impaired respiratory conditions and young children are advised to stay indoors to reduce exposure to smoke. People should avoid exercise or physical exertion during the next two days while heavy smoke exists.
Bearpaw Bay Fire
Started: August 30, 2009, by lightning
Estimated Size: 2,844 acres
Location: Approximately two miles northeast of North Jenny Lake Junction on the Teton Park Road, and west of Spalding Bay on Jackson Lake.
Overview: A lightning-caused fire, the Bearpaw Bay Fire began on August 30 and has been managed for resource benefits according to the park’s fire management plan. The fire was burning primarily in the 1981 Mystic Isle Fire area, but moved into old growth lodgepole forest late afternoon on September 25. It has remained within the approved area; however, firefighters are suppressing the southeast flank, near the southwestern shore of Spalding Bay, with an objective to limit any further spread to the east.
Recent Activity and Expectations: The Bearpaw Bay Fire was mapped using GPS at 2,844 acres on Monday, September 28. Weather forecasts call for winds out of the southwest on Tuesday.
Closures or Impacts to Visitors and Area Residents: The eastshore trail along Leigh Lake is closed due to the proximity of the fire, as are several backcountry campsites on Leigh, Bearpaw and Trapper lakes, and the lakeshore campsites in the Spalding Bay area of Jackson Lake. The Spalding Bay Road is closed.
Fire Updates: For current fire information, go to http://www.tetonfires.com/ or visit the Teton Interagency Fire Web site at http://gacc.nifc.gov/egbc/dispatch/wy-tdc/index.html. For a map of the Bearpaw Bay Fire go to http://gacc.nifc.gov/egbc/dispatch/wy-tdc/information/current-fires/index.html.