Moose, WY- With the nip of fall in the air, the leaves turning gold, and frost on the grass, many outdoor recreationists are turning their thoughts to the hunt. Teton Interagency Fire Managers warn visitors of the dangers associated with leaving warming fires unattended on public lands.
Teton Interagency Fire Center has responded to 17 fires this season, of which, almost half were caused by abandoned campfires. In addition to this, over 133 campfires were left abandoned or unattended. As history has proven, these small warming or cooking fires can easily send embers outside the ring or spread through adjacent vegetation to ignite a wildfire.
The cost of fire suppression is high and the threat to campers and adjacent private lands is unacceptable. Never be careless or complacent with fire safety. Morning temperatures are chilly and many hunters will start warming fires all too often failing to extinguish them properly thinking the cool temperatures or wet weather will put them out. Warming fires are generally small in size but lack many of the safety features of a regular campfire. They are usually built on top of dry forest fuels without a rock ring to keep the fire from creeping and spreading.
Remember these tips for fire safety;
• Know where fires are allowed; campfires are only permitted in designated campsites at Grand Teton National Park and are not allowed in the National Elk Refuge.
• Keep fires small
• Build fires in a fire safe area
• Never leave a fire unattended
• Drown the fire with water and stir until it is COLD TO THE TOUCH (lack of smoke showing does not mean the fire is out)
• When finished with charcoal briquettes, dunk them in water
Fire danger for the Teton Interagency area is currently moderate which means that fires start easily, spread at a moderate rate, and can start from most accidental causes.
For more information on preventing wildfires, visit www.tetonfires.com. To report a fire call 911 or Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630.