Hot, dry, and windy conditions during the summer months raises the potential for forest fires across western states. Yellowstone is a fire-adapted ecosystem, meaning that fire is natural and essential to Yellowstone’s ecosystem. Regular fires help increase the number of plant species, with some plants even requiring fires for survival.
Yellowstone’s fire season typically lasts from June-September. Fires may start from lightning strikes and a number of human activities (campfires, off-road driving, and cigarettes). At the time of this posting, three fires are ongoing in Yellowstone with another six fires burning in nearby Grand Teton National Park.
What You Can do to Plan a Safe Fire Season Trip
When hiking in Yellowstone, it is important to know current fire alerts, follow fire restrictions, and put fires completely out at all campsites.
Know the current fire alerts. Certain trails and backcountry campsites may be closed from the fire. You can better plan for your trip if you know where the fires are. Check Yellowstone’s current fire activity here.
Follow all ranger fire restrictions. For backcountry hikers, find out if campfires have been prohibited; you may need to cook with portable stoves instead. Find full restrictions on Yellowstone’s current fire activity page.
Put campfires dead out. Many fires have started simply because careless campers left their campfires unattended with smoldering coals. If wood fires are allowed at a site, use the provided campfire ring and never leave your fire unattended. Campfires should be small if conditions are windy. Drown the campfire with water, add dirt, and stir until its cool to touch.