Campfire

Open, human-tended flames will legally return to the landscape after a nearly two-month-long, drought-induced ban on campfires outside of grates at designated campgrounds.

Restrictions put in place the last week of June will be lifted as of 12:01 a.m. Thursday on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, according to a special order signed by Forest Supervisor Tricia O’Connor. Neighboring land managers, such as Grand Teton National Park, will follow suit.

“The consensus among all the partners was that we got enough rain and the indices are low enough that everybody was comfortable coming out of restrictions for the moment,” Bridger-Teton Fire/Timber Staff Officer Tobin Kelley told the Jackson Hole Daily.

Recent weeks have been considerably wetter than average in Jackson Hole. Although the in-town Jackson Climate Station typically averages 1.2 inches of precipitation in the month of August, there’s already been 3.49 inches that have fallen to date in August 2021. That’s bumping up against the all-time monthly record, 3.8 inches, which came in 1945.

Northern reaches of the 3.4-million-acre forest soaked up more rain than areas to the south, like the Wind River and Wyoming ranges.

Fire danger has been reduced to “moderate” across the forest, park and other adjacent lands.

Similarly, the Shoshone National Forest, bordering the Bridger-Teton to the east, yanked their “stage one” fire ban Wednesday. Yellowstone National Park did so late last week.

At least as of midafternoon Wednesday, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest had not yet updated its messaging about fire restrictions.

Recent rains brought some relief to the West where more than 95% of lands are in drought, and half the region is deemed to be experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The entirety of Teton County is classified as in either severe or extreme drought, although the U.S. Drought Monitor hasn’t been updated for about a week.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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