People are drawn to Jackson Hole largely because of its great potential for adventure. Adventure calls all around us in the mountains, rivers and open lands. Adventure brings exhilaration, adrenaline, satisfaction and inherent danger.
Let’s pause on the topic of danger. A response to danger offers a range of reactions largely boiled down to either fear or focus.
As a community we need to focus now on eliminating the dangers of the expected and now prevalent fall season surge of Covid-19 and wildland fire expansion. A seemingly incongruent pair, the reality is danger to our community lurks in both.
Wildland fires are raging across the West, and resources are scarce to battle flames once they get out of control. Within the past 10 days about a dozen suspected abandoned campfires have turned into forest fires. The largest of these, the Pilgrim Creek Fire, is more than 230 acres. The flurry of fires coincided with the advent of elk hunting season with rifles.
Along with state-mandated hunter safety courses and rifle safety precautions, those harvesting game on the forest should also practice wildland fire safety.
We’re living through historically challenging times, and carelessness is sure to make them worse.
While the danger from fire season is waning, danger from the COVID-19 pandemic is ramping up. We’re all weary and want life to return to normal, but the fight isn’t over.
Warning signals are all around us: The state’s 14-day average for new COVID-19 cases, now at 98 per day, is the highest level since the pandemic began. Teton County is back in the red “high risk” phase, setting new records for daily new cases and current active cases and seeing an outbreak of the virus among our most vulnerable, the residents of St. John’s Living Center. Look at the outbreak maps and red surrounds us.
Public health officials warn that we are at a turning point, and we’re spreading the coronavirus between friends and family.
The News&Guide editorial board echoes this urgent public health advice:
Wear a mask in public buildings, standing in lines or in places where 6 feet of physical distance cannot be maintained.
Stay home when sick, even with mild signs or symptoms.
Reduce your errands and trips to the grocery store.
Keep group sizes small and maintain physical distance.
Wash hands frequently.
Work from home if possible.
Limit exposure to others outside your immediate family.
Follow statewide and countywide health orders, recommendations and guidelines.
A small sacrifice of increasing our collective focus on vigilance will be rewarded with the return of more adventurous days ahead.