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The Yellowstone Fires of 1988

A devastating fire that was created when many individual fires joined together.
by

Ruby Wolf

on 22 March 2011

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Transcript of The Yellowstone Fires of 1988

The Yellowstone Fires of 1988 The fires left many types of destruction in its wake. It slaughtered 345 elk, 36 deer, 12 moose, 6 black bears, 9 bisons, an estimated amount of 100 fish, and many rodents. 2 firefighters also perished when the fire swept down, one while piloting a plane and another when a tree unexpectantly crashed. The property damage totalled up to 3 million dollars. Areas Burned The fires began when lightning struck trees and the flames began to spread across the park.

First, there were several individual, small blazes, but soon, all of these flames cogegrated into one large inferno, creating the largest wildfire ever recorded in the history of Yellowstone Park. Part of the reason of the deadly blazes was the fact that most of the Yellowstone vegetation was already parched from the severe drought that attacked the park in June. Finally, snow and rain dampened the fires' movements on September 11, and the flames were no longer a threat. Fierce winds chased the fires to ferocious speeds, allowing them to cover 36% of the park. On a day now known as Black Saturday, large winds sent blistering flames speeding over 15,000 acres of land! By then, even the most elite force of firefighters could do little to halt the fires. Hundreds of people fled their homes in an attempt to escape. The fires were fought with the most costly and largest team of firefighters, but unfortunately, their efforts were in vain for nothing could stop the fires except for the force of nature itself. The first of the fires went out by themselves, although the next couple did not.
Park rangers refused to extinguish the flames, causing the fires to grow into unstoppable forces. People's opinions varied in the matter of the fires' destruction. Some glimpsed only the terrible side of the fires and blamed all damage on them. Others, such as park rangers, claimed that fires were important factors in nature. This turned out to be true for the grass repopulated quickly, providing more grazing areas for elk and such beings. This was because the fires leftover ash fertilized the soil. Fires in general need 3 extremely important factors, without which they cannot burn. Fuel (vegetation, structures) Heat The firefighting force used 120 heicoptors, which drenched the fires with 1.4 million gallons of fire retardant and 10 million gallons of water. There were more than 100 fire engines dispatched to the effort. Park rangers in Yellowstone National Park were blamed to have let the fires burn without control. In an attempt to defend themselves, they claimed that they were following the "natural burn" policy. They had absolutely no idea that the summer in 1988 would be any different from any other years. Usually in Yellowstone Park, fires were allowed to burn out by themselves since rain and excessive moisture in the park prevented most fires from spreading. Many people started calling the "natural burn" policy the "let it burn" policy in a rage towards wildfires.
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