Rain, high humidity give firefighters upper hand on wildfire
-- YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyoming (CNN) -- Scattered rain showers and higher humidity helped firefighters Saturday better control a wildfire that has already burned about 2,800 acres in Yellowstone National Park.
"We got three-to four-hundredths of an inch of rain yesterday," fire information spokeswoman Kim Smith said. "We've gotten another break today with lower temperatures and higher humidity so we hope to have another good day so we can keep an upper hand in the short term on the fire."
Firefighters have contained 15 percent of the blaze, which had consumed 2,800 acres by Saturday -- 500 acres more than Friday's estimate.
"It looks like the fire grew, but the larger number comes because crews were able to do a better mapping job yesterday and calculate the acres better," she said. "The fire did not progress around its perimeter."
The blaze -- dubbed the Arthur Fire -- is in an area of the park that has not burned in at least a century, Smith said.
A lightning strike ignited it last Sunday.
While officials initially welcomed the rain, Friday's storm may prove to be a mixed blessing. Smith said numerous lightning strikes hit outside the park and could start new fires.
"We will watch areas outside the park over the next several days," she said. "It's typical for those fires to lay low and pop out later from the lightning event yesterday."
Officials closed four trails in the Shoshone National Forest -- just outside Yellowstone, where fires have burned through 50 acres.
The fire is burning about a half a mile from Yellowstone's east entrance, which is also closed, Smith said. The nearest alternate entrance, close to Cooke City, Montana, requires a detour of more than 100 miles through Cody.
"It isn't affecting any of the other sites like Old Faithful. Everything else in the park is open," she said.
At Pahaska Tepee resort, about two miles east of the fire's edge, rooftops were sprinkled with water as a precaution, and fire engines are on standby. The resort has not been evacuated, nor have any visitors to Yellowstone itself.
But about a dozen park employees from the area, as well as their families, were evacuated soon after the fire started Sunday.
Grizzly bears populate the area where the fire is currently burning. Many firefighters are trained to protect themselves from bears.
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