August 19, 2011
On Thursday, August 18, Teton Interagency fire managers elevated the fire danger rating to “high” for both Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. 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: 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 always prepare for the unexpected by having a water bucket and shovel on hand.
This season in the Teton Interagency personnel have extinguished 52 unattended or abandoned campfires.
Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest have each had three fire starts this year. One of the fires ignited by sparks arching from a powerline after a tree fell against it, and another is suspected to be human caused because of its location in a developed area with no evidence of a lightning strike.
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.
To report a fire or smoke in either area, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.