Fire danger raised to High
Campfires still allowed
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
June 22, 2012
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS and Teton Interagency fire managers elevated the fire danger rating to "High" for all of Teton County Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and Grand Teton National Park as of Thursday, June 21. The potential for fire activity has increased due to very dry vegetation combined with warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds. Local residents and visitors alike should exercise caution and practice heightened fire safety at all times.
A high fire danger rating means that fires can start easily and spread quickly. When determining fire danger ratings, fire managers use several indices 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 the availability of firefighting resources across the country.
The Teton Interagency Fire area typically does not reach high fire danger prior to mid-July. Several factors led to the early rise in fire danger, including a below normal snow pack with an early melt, unseasonably warm temperatures in April and May, and a lack of rainfall so far in June. This year is tracking similar to 2007, when the area was elevated to high fire danger on June 25, very high fire danger on July, and extreme fire danger on July 5. The Horse Creek Fire started June 21, 2007 and burned 8,590 acres in the Big Piney District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Unattended or abandoned campfires can quickly escalate into wildfires, and it is extremely important that all campfires are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before campers leave their site. Visitors should never leave a fire unattended, and should have a water bucket and shovel on hand to extinguish their campfires. Campers have abandoned 21 campfires on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and in Grand Teton National Park so far this summer. The fine for an abandoned campfire is $225, but campers can also be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.