Publication Date August 24, 2016 | Reuters

Wildfire forces closure of south entrance to Yellowstone National Park

United States

Burning trees and thick smoke from a large Wyoming wildfire have prompted authorities to close the main connecting road between the south end of Yellowstone National Park and the northern border of Grand Teton National Park...

The west gate remains open, and firefighters say they are confident they can prevent the Maple Fire from reaching the road between West Yellowstone, the park's busiest entrance, and the Old Faithful geyser, the most popular attraction at the national park.

The Maple Fire, along with two other fires burning in more remote areas of Yellowstone, were all caused by lightning, and are burning in timber and undergrowth primed by a dry spring and summer.

Many fires in the 2.2 million acre (890,308 hectares) Yellowstone National Park are allowed to largely burn themselves out, so long as they do not threaten buildings, roads or developed areas.

The blazes come at the height of the summer tourist season and as officials in both parks prepare for celebrations set for Thursday marking the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service