By Molly Messick
Yellowstone National Park – The Arnica Fire is still smoldering in Yellowstone National Park, but rain and snowfall in the area have stopped its spread. Chief Ranger Tim Reid says the fire was, in many ways, ideal. It came late in the year, when wet weather was imminent. And it cleared an area of 2 to 300-year-old Lodgepole Pine and Spruce Fir. Reid says that's a good thing. Yellowstone is what he calls a fire-dependent ecosystem.
These trees grow, they live out their lifespan and then eventually they burn. Natural fire over the landscape is how the forest regenerates itself and how it stays healthy.
The fire burned between 10 and 11 thousand acres in the park, and crews are clearing trees that could fall near Grand Loop Road. Reid says a section of the road will likely remain closed until Saturday, with guided passage three times daily.