BOZEMAN, Mont. - Former Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Robert “Bob” Barbee has passed away at his home in Bozeman.
During his 42-year career with the National Park Service, he spent time in Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, Big Bend National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore, Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, to name a few.
Superintendent Barbee is best remembered for his time at Yellowstone from 1983 through 1994. During that time he rose to the national spotlight amongst the endless stream of media as the catastrophic wildfires of 1988 raged in our nation’s first national park.
The wildfires scorched more than 1,500 square miles inside and outside of Yellowstone. The scars from the devastation can still be seen today. More than 10,000 wildland firefighters fought the fires at their peak.
During the disaster he fought with media and politicians (many whom called for his ouster) over differing opinions about how wildfires should be managed.
28 years after the fires blackened large swaths of Yellowstone, many of Superintendent Barbee’s practices in managing extreme wildfires are now federal wildland fire management policy.
He retired in 2000 as the regional superintendent of Alaska's national parks. Bob Barbee was 80 years old and is survived by his wife, three daughters and seven grandchildren.