Fire safety extra important this holiday

Western WY – Independence Day is already around the corner (nobody panic), and despite the precipitation and cooler temps the past few weeks, fire managers are expecting a drying trend in vegetation that will make fires more likely. Teton Interagency Fire is encouraging people to be extra careful with anything flammable this Fourth of July.

Visitors and local residents alike are reminded that fireworks are not permitted in Grand Teton National Park, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, within the National Elk Refuge, or in Sublette and Teton County, WY. These fireworks regulations play a critical role in fire prevention during a time of year when vegetation begins drying out and warmer temperatures become more common throughout the area.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year and result in an average of $43 million in direct property damage. A random spark can quickly escalate into a wildfire, especially under dry, windy conditions.

Additionally, unattended and abandoned campfires are a common source of unexpected wildfires. Area fire personnel respond annually to over 100 abandoned campfires, which can hold heat for an extended period of time if not properly extinguished. Fire personnel have responded to 27 unattended campfires so far this season in the Teton Interagency Fire response area. Simply pouring water on the remains of a fire is not sufficient. The charred remains must be repeatedly doused with water and stirred into the campfire ring. All embers and logs, not just those that are still glowing, should be broken up and covered with dirt. Campfire remains must be cold to the touch before the site is vacated.

Visit the Teton Interagency Fire website to learn more about fire safety and what fire regulations may be in place. To report a fire or smoke in the immediate area, call the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.

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