Bacon Rind fire

The Bacon Rind fire crawled toward U.S. Highway 191 on Monday but helicopter water drops kept it from jumping the road. 

The fire smoldering in the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park was moving toward U.S. Highway 191 on Monday but a barrage of helicopter water drops slowed its eastward advance.

Scott Babinowich, a spokesman for the Bacon Rind fire, said a helicopter with a bucket full of water flew onto the fire around 5 p.m. Monday, hoping to cool the fire off and prevent any embers from jumping the road and starting new spot fires. 

He said it appears to have worked — the chopper was in the air for maybe 45 minutes, and it was able to keep the fire on the west side of the highway. 

"It probably got to within 100 yards of the highway," he said. 

The blaze is south of Big Sky and is burning partially in Yellowstone National Park and partially in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. Its perimeter is estimated at 1,388 acres. It was first discovered in mid-July, and Babinowich said it's still not very active, even with its charge toward the road. 

The activity slowed traffic on 191 and caused delays of up to a half-hour Monday night. The road was also reduced to one lane with a pilot car. 

Babinowich said there is no helicopter activity this morning. He said fires usually aren't very active early. Activity may pick up in the afternoon. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Scott Babinowich. 

Michael Wright can be reached at or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1. 

Michael Wright covers the environment and wildlife issues for the Chronicle.