Fire danger elevated to “very high” in southern forest areas

Western WY — Teton Interagency fire managers and staff are busy responding to fire incidents locally, regionally and nationally. The Teton Interagency area, including Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and National Elk Refuge, has had warm temperatures, low humidity and some winds the past few days. These conditions can rapidly dry vegetation and create ideal conditions for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread. Similar weather conditions are predicted throughout the next week.

The Greys River, Big Piney, and Kemmerer ranger districts, including the Wyoming and Salt River Ranges, of the Bridger-Teton National Forest have moved to “very high” fire danger. The remainder of the Teton Interagency area remains “high” fire danger.

Fire danger ratings are determined by considering a number of factors. To decide a fire danger rating, fire managers consider the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees. They also look at predicted weather conditions including temperatures and the possibility of rain, lightning, or wind. Fire managers consider the ability of fire to spread after ignition, and availability of firefighting resources across the country. The Wyoming Range is drier than surrounding areas and areas to the north because it did not get recent precipitation.

Everyone, including visitors to public lands, should always use extra caution with fire. It is critical to put out all campfires and warming fires. As of today, 105 campfires have been abandoned in the Teton Interagency Dispatch area. Anyone choosing to have a fire should be in attendance of their fire at all times. Before leaving, drown any fire with plenty of water, stir all ashes and coals until they are soaked, and cold to the touch. Explosives, including fireworks and exploding targets, are illegal on national park and national forest lands. Do not park or drive on dry grass, ensure chain saws have working spark arrestors, and when smoking outside ensure cigarettes are crushed and do not flick ashes on dry vegetation.

There are currently no fire restrictions in place. Conditions and contributing factors are being evaluated daily by fire managers with coordinated conversations among counties and land management agencies on this topic. Last year, during late August and September, there was an increase in fire incidents due to dry conditions and human actions.

Please visit the Teton Interagency Fire website to learn more about current fires, fire safety, and any fire regulations that may be in place. To report a fire or smoke, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630.

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