Yellowstone National Park: Woman Trying to Rescue Dog Suffers ‘Significant Thermal Burns’

by Courtney Blackann

What started as a scenic drive through Yellowstone National Park ended with an emergency trip to the hospital for one Washington woman. While driving with her family, the 20-year-old’s dog jumped from the car abruptly. The woman ran after it, like anyone would. However, she didn’t realize she was running directly into trouble.

It was near  Firehole River in northwestern Wyoming that the unidentified woman followed her dog straight into the Maiden’s Grave Spring – one of the park’s numerous boiling hot springs, according to the New York Post via Park Services.

After the animal jumped into the water, the woman attempted to retrieve it. This move covered her arms in scalding water. Her father acted quickly, grabbing both his daughter and the dog and rushing them to the car. From that point, he drove to them to West Yellowstone where they were assisted by the Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District.

The woman was transferred to East Idaho Regional Medical Center where she was treated in the burn unit. It’s unclear what her condition is after being treated.

The park released a statement saying her father “intended to take [the dog] to a veterinarian,” but “its status is unknown currently.” Of the injured woman they said, “Since the patient was transported outside of Yellowstone National Park, we do not know her status.”

Additionally, the National Parks Services reminded individuals to be cautious in thermal areas

“Stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas –
Hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature. Keep your children close and don’t let them run,” the Park Services website states.

Water temperatures in thermal areas can also reach up to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. There are approximately 10,000 of these hot spots throughout Yellowstone, making those areas extremely dangerous.

Yellowstone National Park Injuries

This isn’t the only time someone has suffered from thermal burns from accidentally coming into contact with hot springs. Last month, a 19-year-old woman, from Rhode Island, suffered burns on 5% of her body.

At the time, the girl’s cell phone died and she got lost in the park. It was getting late when the accident happened. The young woman originally was hiking with her mother. But after getting cold, she made her way back to the car to grab a jacket. She didn’t have a flashlight and couldn’t find her way back. That’s when she stumbled upon a thermal area.

“When she stepped down, the ground beneath her cracked and she fell … Her hands got the worst of it. Somehow, she got up and started running. She didn’t know where she was going because it was pitch black,” the mother shared.

The woman was found and taken to the ICU in a nearby hospital. She is making a recovery there.