Very High fire danger has authorities concerned

Now the danger is VERY HIGH! The rating has been elevated to very high for Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and the National Elk Refuge. Conditions in the Teton Interagency area are drying rapidly, and a fire may start easily, spread quickly and burn intensely. Teton County Fire Marshal Kathy Clay says the early increase in fire danger is not unlike what we saw the year Yellowstone burned.

Clay said, “The data is starting to line up to look a lot like 1988 which is drier than a lot of us have seen in this valley, and across the nation. We’re in a drought.”

Clay says everyone is asked to practice heightened fire safety. Visitors and residents are reminded that fireworks are not permitted anywhere in this area, and so far, Teton Interagency Fire personnel have had to extinguish 52 unattended or abandoned this year, compared with 18 at this time in 2020. She fears are luck will eventually run out.

“Our partners at the Forest Service are working really hard to make sure all those fires are out, even if people walk away from them. That can only last so long,” She said.

Clay points out that abandoned campfires can quickly escalate into wildfires. She says even though campfires are still allowed, consider how necessary it is that one is built, and make sure that they are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving the site.

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