July, 21 2009
Teton interagency fire managers elevated the fire danger rating to “High” for both the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park as of Tuesday, July 21. Drying vegetation combined with a recent rise in temperatures, lower humidity, and afternoon winds has increased the potential for fire activity. Local residents and visitors alike should exercise an extra measure of caution and practice heightened fire safety at all times—responsible steps include making sure that a campfire is thoroughly extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving a campsite.
Unattended or abandoned campfires can quickly escalate into wildfires. So far this summer, campers have carelessly abandoned 67 campfires on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The fine for an abandoned campfire is $225, but campers can also be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire. Visitors should never leave a fire unattended, and should prepare for the unexpected by having a water bucket and shovel on hand.
Teton interagency firefighters are managing three fires for resource benefits, the most active of which is the Falling Ice Fire on the west side of Leigh Lake near the base of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park. The fire is still less than an acre, but smoke was visible Tuesday morning from Teton Park Road. The Snake Fire near the Teton Point Turnout and the Box Creek Fire in the Teton Wilderness on the Bridger-Teton National Forest are smoldering, but are not currently producing visible smoke.
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. A high fire danger rating means that fires can start easily and spread quickly.
To report a fire or smoke in either area, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630. For more fire information, please visit the Web at http://gacc.nifc.gov/egbc/dispatch/wy-tdc/index.html or http://www.tetonfires.com/, or follow GrandTetonNPS or BridgerTetonNF on Twitter.