Caution with campfires


Each year, a number of abandoned campfires are reported throughout our area, increasing the risk of human-caused fires.

To report a wildlife, call the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3630.  

As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarette, and intentional acts of arson. These fires put firefighters at risk and commit fire suppresstion resources that may be need for other incidents.  

The Teton Interagency Fire program finds or responds to many abandoned campfires each year. Campers either leave a campfire still burning when they depart the area, or they don’t completely extinguish the fire and ensure all wood, ash, and other debris are no longer generating heat. Embers picked up by a breeze can be carried into vegetation where they have the potential to start a wildfire. Campers and day users should never leave a fire unattended and always have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use. So far this season, personnel in the Teton Interagency Fire area have responded to 121 unattended or abandoned campfires.

Abandoned campfires continue to be a problem on into the fall as cooler weather sometimes prompts people to build a warming fire. It's important to complete extinguish all campfires until they're cool to the touch during all seasons of the year.

The proper way to extinguish a campfire is to repeatedly pour water on the site and stir the remaining wood and ashes in order to thoroughly mix in the water. (If you don't have enough water, you can use dirt or sand.) The process needs to be repeated until you can place the back of your hand close to the site and not feel any heat radiating from the ashes and wood, a process known as “cold-trailing.” If you feel any heat coming from the remains of the campfire, it's too hot to leave.

An entertaining 37-second YouTube video shows the reward you may receive for properly extinguishing a campfire!

The total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 will take place during our peak fire season. Whether it's because of an unattended campfire, a discarded cigarette, or the hot undercarriage or tailpipe of a vehicle parked in dry grass, a fire can easily start and rapidly grow. It's imperative everyone be extra vigilant about preventing unwanted wildfires because of the amount of traffic congestion and additional people expected in the area for the event.

Many thanks to our local KHOL Community Radio and all others who helped to produce and record the following series of public service announcements to keep fire danger and prevention on everyone's minds during the days leading up to and following the solar eclipse. 

Don't Have an Eclipse in Judgment - audio file only (mp3 file)  or  YouTube file with graphics

Right in Your Backyard - audio file only (mp3 file)  or  YouTube file with graphics

Conditions are Lining Up - audio file only (mp3 file)  or  YouTube file with graphics 

Ring of Fire audio file only (mp3 file)  or  YouTube file with graphics 

Keep Fire Prevention in Mind - audio file only (mp3 file)  or  YouTube file with graphics