The Bridger Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park have once again elevated regional fire danger to “Extreme”. An “Extreme” danger means that fires can start quickly, spread vigorously, and burn intensely.
Teton Interagency Fire managers use several indices to determine fire danger, including the moisture content of grasses, shrubs and trees, projected weather conditions, the ability of fire to spread after ignition and available fire resources.
Partial Fire Restrictions remain in effect for both the Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park. Partial fire restrictions include:
• Lighting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, barbecue or grill is allowed only at designated recreation sites such as established campgrounds or picnic areas. Use of portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel, or use of a fully enclosed sheepherder type stove with a spark arrester screen is permitted.
• Smoking is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building (unless otherwise prohibited), developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials (i.e. parking lots, developed campsites, or locations surrounded by water).
• Operating a chainsaw is prohibited in national parks. Operating a chainsaw on national forest lands is permitted only when equipped with a USDA or SAE approved spark arrester that is properly installed and in effective working order. Operators must also carry a fire extinguisher and a shovel.
• Discharge of fireworks and use of explosives requiring blasting caps are prohibited.
• Welding is prohibited in national parks. For national forest locations, welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame is only allowed in cleared areas of at least 10 feet in diameter. A fire extinguisher must be at the location.
Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, and/or by imprisonment for more than six months.
Dozens of unattended camp fires have been extinguished by rangers and firefighters so far this season.