By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming has implemented new fire restrictions beginning Thursday.
According to a news release, stage one fire restrictions are being implemented on all National Forest System lands within the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The restrictions allow fires only in designated and installed fire rings or grills at designated campgrounds or picnic areas.
The moisture content of various fuel types, current and expected weather conditions and available fire-fighting resources, as well as the occurrence of human-caused fires, are factors in the determination to implement fire restrictions on public lands, the release said.
Under the restrictions, fires are allowed in the Teton and Gros Ventre Wilderness areas, but not the Bridger Wilderness. Smoking is also restricted to certain locations.
The 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 3 ft. in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials (i.e. parking lots, developed campsites, or locations surrounded by water).
Campfires in Grand Teton National Park are limited to designated and installed fire rings and/or grills. Campfires aren’t allowed on the National Elk Refuge.
Teton Interagency Fire managers are reminding the public that unattended or abandoned campfires can quickly escalate into wildfires. The fire danger for the area is high, and forecasts call for warm and dry conditions to persist for the remainder of August and beyond.
All campfires and warming fires should be attended to. So far, Teton Interagency Fire personnel have extinguished 168 unattended or abandoned campfires this summer.
During times of elevated fire danger, building campfires is discouraged. Visitors could be held liable for suppression costs if their campfire becomes a wildfire.
All campfires must be completely extinguished before leaving a site. Campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use. A campfire should be “dead out” and cold to the touch before departing.
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.
The public is encouraged to report illegal campfires, as well as smoke reports, to the Teton Interagency Fire Dispatch at 307-739-3630.