Lightning Strike Destroys Historic Yellowstone Structure
According to officials at Yellowstone National Park, on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 16, the historic Mount Holmes Fire Lookout burned to the ground after it was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm.
The Mount Holmes lookout is located southwest of Mammoth Hot Springs and north of Madison Junction.
A employee who was working the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout at the time of the incident, observed and reported the Mount Holmes structure fire while it was happening.
On Wednesday morning, July 17, three people including the park fire chief attempted to fly to the lookout via helicopter to assess the damage. However, the flight was postponed. The helicopter was diverted to a higher priority incident outside the park. While en route, the helicopter manager snapped a photo of the burned lookout.
In the afternoon,officials again attempted to fly to the lookout, but were grounded due to strong winds. More attempts will be made in the coming days.
Currently, the Mount Holmes Trail west of the junction with the Trilobite Lake Trail and the summit of Mount Holmes are closed. These closures will remain in effect until the conditions are assessed and officials feel that there is no longer a threat to public safety.
“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. We are disappointed that this historic structure, as a window into the past, is gone,” said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney.
Yellowstone National Park contributed to this report.