The human response to the 1988 Yellowstone fire was uneven, at times verging on frenzied, but large wildlife, for the most part, executed an orderly evacuation. (Steve Henry, NPS)

It’s been the talk of the town all week — “Ugh… all this smoke!”

With fires blazing across the west, including nearly half a million acres in Montana, eyes are watering and throats are irritated around Wyoming.

Twenty-nine years ago though Yellowstone National Park was in flames and those fires, which would ultimately burn 1.2 million acres, affected air quality across the continent.

Read Dan Whipple’s expert recap of the historic conflagration at It won’t clear your view or get rid of that burning smell, but a little perspective is always good for what ails you.

Matthew Copeland

Matthew Copeland is the chief executive & editor of WyoFile. Contact him at or (307) 287-2839. Follow Matt on Twitter at @WyoCope

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