Teton Interagency fire managers have elevated the fire danger rating to high for Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge beginning Wednesday, July 13.
The forecast is for continued warmer and drier weather. Visitors should not be deceived by how green the landscape looks. It is the dead and down timber and fuels that are carrying fire right now prompted fire managers to elevate the fire danger rating. That is what happened on the recent Sandy Fire on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in late June and that type of fire behavior is expected to continue over the next several weeks.
A high fire danger rating means fires can start easily and spread quickly. When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources across the country.
Public land users can help prevent wildfires by not having a fire at all and instead dressing for success with layers and warm clothes.
Fire managers advise recreationists to use caution if choosing to build and maintain a campfire. In areas where campfires are allowed, fires should never be left unattended and must be completely extinguished before leaving. So far this year, there have been 29 illegal and abandoned campfires in the Teton Interagency Fire area. Unattended or abandoned campfires and warming fires can quickly escalate into wildfires and recreationists can be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.
All campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use if choosing to have a fire. Soak, stir, feel, repeat. It is extremely important that all campfires are “dead out” and cold to the touch before leaving.
Visit the Teton Interagency Fire web site at TetonFires.com to learn more about fire safety and what fire regulations may be in place. To report a fire or smoke in the immediate area, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.