CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A wildfire that roared back to life closed the south gate to Yellowstone National Park again Monday and forced employees to flee.
The same blaze shut down the entrance for nine days late last month. It had died down until winds picked up Sunday, taking firefighters by surprise.
That’s when the fire grew by more than 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) and crossed a highway connecting Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Authorities closed the route between Lizard Creek Campground in Grand Teton and Lewis Lake in Yellowstone.
A handful of employees at a gas station and a convenience store and half a dozen people at a campground were evacuated from U.S. 89/191/287, fire information officer Traci Weaver said.
A small number of park employees also left Yellowstone’s south gate area. All evacuees were accounted for and safe, officials said.
“The main thing we want to do is have accountability for everybody out there,” fire information officer Jake Brollier told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Firefighters were optimistic that cooler weather and higher humidity, along with a good chance of rain and even snow at higher elevations, would help.
The fire has burned more than 32 square miles (83 square kilometers) of woodland in and around the highway.