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August 04, 2008 2:12 pm

Firefighters keep flames from Fishing Bridge

Written by Tribune Staff

Fleeing bear injures firefighter
Firefighters in Yellowstone are working to protect the Fishing Bridge area from the LeHardy fire while dodging grizzly bears.
The LeHardy fire spread rapidly over the weekend, growing to more than 4,000 acres on Saturday due to gusty winds and low humidity.
The fire is moving to the northeast into the back country east of the Yellowstone River and away from highway north of Fishing Bridge and the popular tourist area itself.
Firefighters worked along the southern edge of the fire creating a wider fire line to prevent the fire from threatening Fishing Bridge.
Sturcture fire specialists began setting up protection equipment in retail ane sewage treatment areas as a precaution, should the fire change direction.
Firefighters were also conducting conducting controlled burns to improve fire breaks by removing fuels
A control line has also been established on the west bank of the river near the highway between Fishing Bridge and Mud Volcano.
Late last week, the fire spread across the road, closing it for a time, but it reopened Friday.
Firefighters were expected to continue the controlled burning this week as well as mopping up the fire west of the highway.
One firefighter received minor injuries when he found himself in the path of a frightened grizzly bear who appeared to be fleeing the fire area. The man was “briefly roughed up” by the bear and was treated and released at the Yellowstone Clinic.
Firefighters have been educated about bear safety and are carrying bear spray.
According to Joe Krish, Incident Commander for the LeHardy Fire, the LeHardy fire is likely to burn for some time.
We expect it to be with us for awhile and are currently developing a long range strategy,” Krish said.
As of Monday morning, all roads and recreation areas in the park were open. Anyone interested in back country trail closures due to the fire or fire conditions should check with any of the backcountry offices or call 307-344-2160.