September 21, 2010
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, September 21. Dry vegetation—combined with seasonable temperatures, low humidity and afternoon winds—has increased the potential for fire activity.
When determining fire danger ratings, fire managers use several indices such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs and trees, the 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.
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. 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 always prepare for the unexpected by having a water bucket and shovel on hand. This season in the Teton Interagency area, careless campers have left 104 campfires unattended.
Firefighters continue to work on several lightning-caused wildland fires in the Teton Interagency area, managing these for multiple objectives including the improvement of forage conditions for wildlife habitat and for the decrease of fuel build-up to reduce the potential of high-risk wildfires.
The Willow Draw Fire in the Buffalo District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is .10 of an acre in size and about 1/2 mile from the boundary of Grand Teton and the national forest. There are no trail or area closures at this time and smoke may be visible in the afternoon.
Fire personnel are patrolling the 4,422-acre Bull Fire. Firefighters and equipment may be added to meet objectives as fire activity increases, or scaled back during quiet periods of the fire. If windy and warmer weather continues, fire activity will become more visible from the road and trails in the area. While there are no closures in place, visitors to the area are reminded to use caution when traveling in the vicinity of the Bull Fire and be aware of high winds and the hazard of falling trees.
The Crystal Fire, located in the Gros Ventre Wilderness in the Jackson Ranger District, near Crystal Slide and 1/2 mile from the Crystal Creek Trail, is 120 acres. Fire managers are staffing the fire for long-term management. The fire is spreading west and into the Hidden Basin area and backing slowly towards the Crystal Creek Trail. There are no trail or area closures at this time.
Teton Interagency firefighters are also managing several prescribed fires for resource benefits: the most active of which is the 3,530-acre Lower Gros Ventre Fire on the north of Slide Lake, south of the Ditch Creek drainage. While no formal closures are in place, visitors are asked to stay out of the Middle Fork of Ditch Creek until fire activity subsides, and to use caution in the vicinity of the fire.
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.