Grand Teton National Park at ‘High’ Fire Danger Two Weeks After Officials Raised to ‘Moderate’

by Amy Myers

Right now, much of our western national parks are on high alert for any changes in fire danger, and this includes Grand Teton. On July 13, the park declared danger levels to be “High” just two weeks after they raised it from “Low” to “Moderate.” This is out of a five-point scale with “Extreme” as the highest.

It’s fairly normal for the Wyoming national park to see some elevations in fire danger during the summer. However, the news of the recent uptick in risk hits a little harder as firefighters are still working diligently and bravely to extinguish the flames in Yosemite National Park three states over.

Right now, Grand Teton National Park officials don’t seem to have too many concerns about the current fire danger levels. Though, they did clarify to visitors what this new alert means.

“The forecast is for continued warmer and drier weather,” the park shared in an official release. “Visitors should not be deceived by how green the landscape looks. It is the dead and down timber and fuels that are carrying fire right now prompted fire managers to elevate the fire danger rating. That is what happened on the recent Sandy Fire on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in late June and that type of fire behavior is expected to continue over the next several weeks.”

Grand Teton National Park Gives Visitors Tips for Exploring During High Fire Danger

Of course, not every fire is a destructive one for our wild parklands. In fact, controlled and scheduled burnings often prevent larger fires from occurring. These naturally-occurring events clear out dead, dry brush that can cause flames to quickly expand and devour surrounding areas.

But it’s not as easy as taking a match to the brush and keeping a hose close by. Instead, Grand Teton fire managers keep a close eye on specific characteristics of the grasses and shrubs. They also keep tabs on the weather forecast.

“A high fire danger rating means fires can start easily and spread quickly,” the park explained. “When determining fire danger, fire managers use several indicators such as the moisture content of grasses, shrubs, and trees; projected weather conditions including temperatures and possible wind events; the ability of fire to spread after ignition; and availability of firefighting resources across the country.”

In addition to controlling fires, Grand Teton National Park also gave a few High fire danger crucial tips for travelers. Not surprisingly, the main subject of these pointers had to do with building and extinguishing campfires.

“Unattended or abandoned campfires and warming fires can quickly escalate into wildfires,” the park said. “All campers and day users should have a shovel on hand and a water bucket ready for use if choosing to have a fire. Soak, stir, feel, repeat. It is extremely important that all campfires are ‘dead out’ and cold to the touch before leaving.”