No serious effort was made to extinguish the fires, and many burned until the arrival of autumn rains. Ecologists argued that fire is part of the Yellowstone ecosystem, and that not allowing the fires to run their course would result in a choked, sick, and decaying forest. The National Park Service now has a policy of prescribed burning to prevent another dangerous buildup of flammable materials.
Because of this "let the fires burn" policy, fires in Wyoming and Montana burned across almost one million acres in and around Yellowstone National Park . Taxpayers finally paid $120 million to fight the fires of Yellowstone. Compare that to the park's annual budget of $17.5 million.