A 19-year-old working in Yellowstone National Park concessions suffered the first significant thermal-burn injuries of the year early Thursday morning near Old Faithful.
Rangers provided initial care to the woman, from Rhode Island, for second- and third-degree burns to 5% of her body. Due to the injuries, she was taken by ambulance to West Yellowstone and then life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, according to a National Park Service news release.
This incident is under investigation, and no further information was available on the woman's condition since she was transported to a hospital outside of the park, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said.
The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there can be scalding water just below the surface.
"Everyone must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features," Warthin cautioned.
While not common, severe thermal burn injuries can and do happen in the busy park. In 2020, a three-year-old suffered second-degree-thermal burns to the lower body and back, and an adult visitor (who illegally entered the park) fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos.
In September 2019, a man suffered severe burns after falling into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful Geyser. In June 2017, a man sustained severe burns after falling in a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.
In June 2016, a man left the boardwalk and died after slipping into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin.
In August 2000, one person died and two people received severe burns from falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.
Learn more about safety in thermal areas at go.nps.gov/yellsafety.