Teton County and the Town of Jackson have experienced significant wildfire seasons over the last quarter century and recent years have proved no exception. This wildfire season, Teton County Emergency Management and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS urge everyone to do their part to help prevent all accidental, human-caused wildfires.
Fire is a natural process that plays an important role in ecosystem functioning and forest health. However, uncontrolled wildland fire can also produce negative impacts on public safety and our built environment. Three recent fires, the Wildlife Museum Fire (2019), the Saddle Butte Fire (2019), and the Swinging Bridge Fire (2020), prompted evacuations and required numerous firefighting resources to successfully manage.
Accidental human-caused wildfires are typically worse than those caused by natural agents because they often start along roads, trails, streams, or at campsites and dwellings that are on lower slopes or at the bottoms of hills and valleys. Nurtured by updrafts, these fires can spread quickly uphill. “Fires in these areas where wild lands and infrastructure meet, otherwise known as the Wildland Urban Interface or WUI, can be incredibly difficult to attack and put residents, visitors and firefighters at risk” advises Bobbi Clauson, Wildfire Prevention Specialist for Jackson Hole Fire/EMS.
Here are some tips to reduce the incidence of these types of fires:
- Always check for fire restrictions before lighting any kind of fire. Remember that LOW fire danger does not mean NO fire danger. Check www.tetonfires.com to see what fire regulations may be in place.
- Always attend your campfire. Make sure it is dead out and cold to the touch before abandoning. Remember: Drown, Stir, Feel, Repeat.
- To report wildland fires, call 911 or Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3630.
- Fireworks cause almost 20,000 reported fires in the U.S. each year. Fireworks are not permitted in Grand Teton National Park, on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, within the National Elk Refuge, or in Sublette and Teton Counties.
- Motorists are responsible for many of the fires sparked along roadways. Secure chains and ensure nothing is dragging on the ground. Never drive your vehicle onto dry grass or brush. Keep a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and learn how to use it.
Even with the above prevention measures, wildfire will remain a hazard in our area. Don’t let the first time you educate yourself on wildland fire be in the aftermath of such a fire. Learn more by visiting:
- Teton Interagency Fire: www.tetonfires.com
- Ready, Set, GO! - how to protect yourself and your property against wildland fire threats:
The 2022 Teton County Emergency Preparedness Calendar showcases a different preparedness theme each month. The calendar is available online, or in print by calling Teton County Emergency Management at 307-733-9572. Download a PDF copy and access monthly content at www.tetoncountywy.gov/prepcalendar.