"Very high" fire danger and warm, dry weather have led to the first stage of fire restrictions for the season on federally administered land.
Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge issued a joint press release Monday afternoon announcing the beginning of Stage 1 fire restrictions. They will take effect Thursday. Stage one is a restriction that primarily applies to campfires and smoking.
It means, come Thursday, "lighting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, barbecue or grill is allowed only at designated recreation sites such as established campgrounds or picnic areas." That means open flames won’t be allowed at popular dispersed camping areas like Curtis Canyon, Shadow Mountain, Toppings Lake and beyond. Portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel is allowed. Ditto a "fully enclosed sheepherder type stove with a spark arrester screen."
In stage one restrictions, the press release says puffing a cigarette "is allowed only in an enclosed vehicle, building (unless otherwise prohibited), developed recreation site, or while in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials." That would include parking lots, developed campsites or locations surrounded by water.
Fires elsewhere in the region may tie up firefighting resources, which is part of the reason for the restrictions.
“The limited number of available fire resources due to the national fire situation and the increased traffic may limit our ability to respond to fires in a timely fashion,” Josh Erickson, assistant fire management officer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, said in the press release. “We want people to take the danger seriously and obey the restrictions that are in place.”