Hearth hazard has elevated to excessive – Follow good out of doors recreation ethics and be fireplace protected

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Wyo4news staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

WESTERN WYOMING — Fire safety managers at the Teton Interagency have upgraded the fire hazard rating for Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge to high as of Wednesday, July 13.

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The forecast is for persistently warmer and drier weather. Visitors should not be fooled by how green the landscape looks. It’s the dead and decrepit wood and fuels currently supporting fires that prompted fire safety managers to raise the fire hazard rating. That is exactly what happened in the recent Sandy Fire in Bridger-Teton National Forest in late June, and this type of fire behavior is expected to continue for the next several weeks.

A high fire hazard rating means that fires can start easily and spread quickly. In determining fire hazard, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs and trees; forecast 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 starting a fire at all, instead dressing in layers and warm clothing for success.

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Firefighters advise recreation seekers to exercise caution when deciding to build and maintain a campfire. In areas where bonfires are permitted, fires should never be left unattended and must be fully extinguished before leaving. So far this year there have been 29 illegal and abandoned campfires in the Teton Interagency Fire area. Unattended or abandoned campfires and warming fires can quickly escalate into wildfires, and recreation seekers can be held liable for the cost of suppression if their campfire becomes a wildfire.

All campers and day users should have a shovel and bucket of water handy if they decide to start a fire. Soak, stir, feel, repeat. It’s extremely important that all campfires are “burned out” and cold to the touch before leaving. Visit the Teton Interagency Fire website at TetonFires.com to learn more about fire safety and any applicable fire codes. 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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