So far this year, there have been more than 155 illegal and abandoned campfires in the Teton Interagency Fire area. Photo: Nick Sulzer // Buckrail

JACKSON, Wyo. — Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 8, fire danger is back up to high for the Teton Interagency Area which includes Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) and the National Elk Refuge.

At the end of August, fire danger had been lowered to moderate, and stage 1 fire restrictions were lifted for BTNF, GTNP and the National Elk Refuge.

However, with dry weather patterns in the valley, low moisture levels  in vegetation are once again a concern for officials.

“Heavy smoke has returned to Jackson Hole after a couple of beautiful smoke-free and sunny days last weekend. California fires are the major culprit once again, but increased fire activity in Idaho and Montana is also contributing. The smoke issues will likely continue through the end of the week,” said Buckrail Meteorologist Alan Smith. 

A high fire danger rating means fires can start easily and spread quickly. When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources across the country.

Public land users can help prevent wildfires by not having a fire at all and instead dress in layers and warm clothes.

Fire managers advise recreationists, particularly campers and hunters, to use caution if choosing to build and maintain a campfire. In areas where campfires are allowed, fires should never be unattended and must be completely extinguished before leaving.

So far this year, there have been more than 155 illegal and abandoned campfires in the Teton Interagency Fire area. Unattended or abandoned campfires and warming fires can quickly escalate into wildfires and recreationists can be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.

All campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use if choosing to have a fire. Soak, stir, feel, repeat. It is extremely important that all campfires are “dead out” and cold to the touch before leaving.

To report a fire or smoke in the immediate area, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630. Learn more about fire safety at

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Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.