Lightning-ignited structure fire burns Yellowstone’s historic Mount Holmes Fire Lookout

JACKSON, WY — A lightning strike sparked a fire that burned the historic Mount Holmes Fire Lookout to the ground Tuesday afternoon.

The fire also damaged a park radio repeater. The employee who staffs the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout observed and reported the fire late Tuesday afternoon.

Mount Holmes Fire Lookout is southwest of Mammoth Hot Springs and north of Madison Junction. As of today, July 17, the Mount Holmes Trail west of the junction with the Trilobite Lake Trail and the summit of Mount Holmes are closed. The closure will remain in effect until the conditions are assessed, mitigated, and no longer pose a threat to public safety.

Park employees have made multiple attempts to reach the lookout via helicopter, but have so far been unsuccessful. They will make additional attempts in the next few days.

Mount Holmes Fire Lookout in all its glory, 2012. Photo: NPS

“Built in 1931, and renovated in 1998, the Mount Holmes Fire Lookout maintained its historic-era role as one of Yellowstone National Park’s staffed lookout stations until 2007. The building was eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, both for its significance in early park resource protection efforts and as an outstanding example of the rustic architectural style that typified early park architecture,” Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney said in a press release. “We are disappointed that this historic structure, as a window into the past, is gone.”

The Mount Washburn Fire Lookout is currently staffed seven days a week, mid-June through mid-September. If warranted, three additional lookouts can be staffed.

Yellowstone’s Office of Strategic Communications will provide more information about this incident when it is available.

Mount Holmes Closure (NPS)

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