Two Teton Interagency Fire
engine crews responded to a report of a half-acre fire on the northern boundary
of the National Elk Refuge at approximately 8:30 pm on Thursday, July 11. Fire investigators are following a
lead that the source of ignition may have been fireworks discharged from the
Gros Ventre Campground that lies just across the Gros Ventre River in Grand
Teton National Park.
Teton Interagency Dispatch
Center received notice of the Gros Ventre Fire and summoned initial attack
resources to respond. A Grand Teton National Park ranger assisted in locating
the best access route to the fire, which was not near park or refuge roads.
Despite high humidity and cool evening temperatures, the Gros Ventre Fire
burned quickly through dry grass and sagebrush. A wetting rain on Thursday
evening helped crews contain the fire shortly after 10:00 pm. Teton Interagency Fire manager Mack
McFarland described the fire behavior as more active than expected for this
time of year. “Even with rain and high humidity last night, it was notable for
so early in our fire season.”
This marks the first
significant fire incident for the 2013 season, and serves as a reminder that
vegetation is becoming much dryer across the greater Jackson Hole area as
summer temperatures increase and humidity decreases. Fire danger is currently
rated as moderate, but nearby areas, including Yellowstone National Park, have
increased to a high fire danger rating. The National Weather Service is
predicting the Jackson area may see temperatures near 90 degrees by next week.
Fireworks are prohibited in
Grand Teton National Park, the National Elk Refuge, the Bridger-Teton National
Forest, across Teton and Sublette counties, and on Wyoming state lands. It is
critical that everyone comply with this regulation, especially given the dry
conditions and high temperatures throughout Jackson Hole.
Along with the fireworks
prohibition on public and county lands, campers are reminded that unattended or
abandoned campfires can easily escalate into wildfires. Campers and day users
should never leave a fire unattended and always have a shovel on hand and a
water bucket ready for use. All campfires must be completely extinguished
before leaving a site by wetting and stirring the wood and ashes until they are
cold to the touch.
With the already active fire
season across the country, local residents and visitors should exercise extra
caution and practice heightened fire safety at all times. Area residents and visitors are requested to
report a fire or smoke by calling 911 or Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at
For more fire information,
please visit www.tetonfires.com.
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Elk aren't the only species of wildlife you may see on the National Elk Refuge.