CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Fire managers in Yellowstone National Park are curious to find out why wildfires are burning so actively this summer in areas that burned back in 1988.
The 1988 wildfires burned 36 percent of Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres. The park has seen wildfires every year since then, but fires that occurred in the 1988 fire scars have largely stayed in check.
But Yellowstone fire ecologist Becky Smith says fires this year are burning much more readily in the 1988 fire scars. One fire has burned about 60 square miles.
To help find out why, the park has called in a special federal team that studies fire behavior.
Smith says fire managers see it as a learning opportunity on how and when the 1988 fire scars will now burn.