Fire Danger rating raised to Extreme
by Teton Interagency Fire Managers
September 21, 2012
Teton Interagency Fire managers announce that the fire danger rating will be elevated to Extreme for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park and Teton County on Friday, September 21. When determining a fire danger rating, fire officials use a five-step scale with a rating of Extreme being the highest on the scale. Despite shorter days and cooler nights, a lack of precipitation has provided very volatile fire conditions.
Fire officials use several indices when determining fire danger 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 available fire-fighting resources. A fire danger rating of Extreme means that fires can start quickly, spread vigorously, and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious, and development into high-intensity burning will usually be faster and occur from smaller fires than in the Very High danger class.
As hot, dry weather persists throughout the region, visitors and area residents are reminded that they can help prevent wildfires by being extremely careful with any flammable materials, including cigarettes and campfires.
Partial Fire Restrictions remain in effect for both the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. Partial fire restrictions include:
- Lighting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, barbecue or grill is allowed only at designated recreation sites such as established campgrounds or picnic areas. Use of portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel, or use of a fully enclosed sheepherder type stove with a spark arrester screen is permitted.
- Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building (unless otherwise prohibited), developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials (i.e. parking lots, developed campsites, or locations surrounded by water).
- Operating a chainsaw is prohibited in national parks. Operating a chainsaw on national forest lands is permitted only when equipped with a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester that is properly installed and in effective working order. - - - Operators must also carry a fire extinguisher and a shovel.
- Discharge of fireworks and use of explosives requiring blasting caps are prohibited.
- Welding is prohibited in national parks. For national forest locations, welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame is only allowed in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter. A fire extinguisher must be at the location.
Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, and/or by imprisonment for more than six months.
It is essential that everyone comply with these regulations, especially given the current fire danger rating and tinder-dry conditions. At campsites throughout the area, dozens of unattended campfires have been extinguished by rangers and firefighters so far this season. 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.
To report a fire or smoke in either area, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630. For a list of authorized campgrounds on the Bridger-Teton where campfires are allowed, additional information about fire restrictions in the state of Wyoming or further fire information, visit the Web at www.tetonfires.com.