Tree killed by 1988 Yellowstone fire causes death of visitor

Tree killed by 1988 Yellowstone fire causes death of visitor

11 June 2014

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USA — An international visitor to Yellowstone National Park died Monday afternoon after being struck by a falling tree.

The 36-year old man was from Taiwan, the Republic of China. He was part of a group that was hiking the Fairy Falls trail, which is north of the Old Faithful area and west of the Grand Loop Road.

The man left the trail and ascended a nearby tree-covered slope in an apparent attempt to get a better view of Grand Prismatic Spring, when a lodgepole pine tree fell and struck him in the head.

Other visitors who witnessed the incident made their way back to the trailhead, where they encountered two park maintenance employees working in the area, who relayed the information to Yellowstone law enforcement rangers.

The victim was moved by rangers to the trailhead to await helicopter transport to a medical facility, but after attempts to revive him failed, he was declared dead at the scene.

Yellowstone rangers who responded reported windy weather conditions in the area at the time, and that the fallen tree had been a standing, dead lodgepole, fire-killed during the park’s 1988 fires.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of family members.

The fires of 1988 burned 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park according to the National Park Service. About 25,000 people were involved in the suppression effort which cost $120 million. Nine of the fires were caused by humans; 42 were started by lightning. Fires that started outside of the park burned 63 percent or approximately 500,000 acres of the total acreage. Some of the lightning fires in the park were at first declared “let burn”, and were not suppressed until later in the summer.

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