Fire Restrictions

Smoke from the Pilgrim Creek Fire rises Oct. 6 northwest of Moran, when the fire was about 10 acres. The backcountry blaze in the Teton Wilderness has since grown to 260 acres, though personnel and fire-fighting resources returned to their home stations on Oct. 9 in anticipation of this past weekend's wet weather. Teton County and the Bridger-Teton National Forest have both lifted fire restrictions in the wake of that storm cycle.

Teton County and the Bridger-Teton National Forest both lifted fire restrictions Tuesday, though the fire danger remains high across much of the forest.

On the county side, the Teton County Board of County Commissioners voted to lift the partial fire ban for the county at the request of Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Chief Brady Hansen.

"The moisture and cooler temperatures have reduced the fire risk significantly enough to remove the restriction," Hansen said in a press release.

The forest, for its part, lifted its Stage One Fire Restriction Order, which, among other things, prohibited fires in the Bridger Wilderness and dispersed campsites like those on Shadow Mountain.

But while the Bridger-Teton made moves to lessen restrictions in the wake of this weekend's fall weather, its spokespeople cautioned that fire danger is still high and that it is still illegal to leave a fire unattended or abandoned. 

Thank you to the public and our visitors for using extra precaution during the fire restriction period and please remember that a lower fire danger does not mean no fire danger,” Forest Fuels Specialist Andy Norman said in a press release.

Teton Interagency Dispatch has found 250 unattended or abandoned fires in 2020, the press release stated, including 62 in areas where the Stage One restrictions prohibited them outright. Thirty human-caused wildfires, which have spread over 110 acres to date, have required a response from area firefighters and aviation resources. Most were caused by escaped campfires or warming fires.

Both the county and the Bridger Teton recommended using caution when fire is involved.

The county asked that people follow "proper fire prevention precautions" when:

  • Departing a campfire or bonfire;
  • Burning yard waste or rubbish;
  • Smoking; and
  • Using cars, tools and other combustion engines.

The forest advised people to:

  • Never leave a fire unattended;
  • Select campfire locations carefully, in areas that are free from overhanging trees and clear of grass and brush;
  • Avoid building a fire on windy days;
  • Use pre-existing campfire rings in dispersed camping areas rather than creating new rings;
  • Never park on tall, dry grass;
  • Keep fires small to reduce the risk of spots and make them easier to put out; and
  • Drown, stir, and feel until your fire is cold to the touch before leaving.

Exploding targets are illegal on public lands, the Bridger-Teton added.

“Even though we are experiencing cooler temperatures and received some moisture over the area, visitors still need to be careful with their fires,” the Bridger-Teton's Deputy Fire Management Officer Josh Erickson said in the release.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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