Passing Thunderstorm Ignites Several Fires

July 13, 2009
More than 500 lightning strikes were recorded in Grand Teton National Park and on the north zone of the Bridger-Teton National Forest as an active thunderstorm moved through the greater Jackson Hole area early Monday morning, July 13. At least three lightning-caused fires ignited in Grand Teton during the past 24 hours. Teton interagency firefighters are on alert for additional fires as the temperature rises and afternoon winds increase.

Lightning ignited the Valley Fire, one mile southwest of the park’s Beaver Creek housing area on Sunday afternoon, and early Monday morning, lightning ignited the Smurf House Fire near Moran Junction. Interagency firefighters suppressed both fires at a tenth-acre due to their proximity to park developments. Firefighters are monitoring a third fire, Falling Ice Fire west of Leigh Lake. The fire, which is one-tenth of an acre, may be managed for resource benefit.

Fire managers raised the fire danger rating to moderate on July 8, which means fires start and spread easily. In addition to lightning-ignited fires, the Bridger-Teton National Forest has dealt with 50 abandoned campfires so far this summer.

“With warmer and drier weather in the forecast, it is critical that campers make sure their campfires are cold to the touch before leaving them,” said Fire Prevention Technician Lesley Williams. “Should your campfire become a wildfire, you can be held liable for suppression costs.”

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