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    Grand Teton

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Firefighters Suppress Cow Lake Fire

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Date: August 8, 2011
Contact: Jackie Skaggs, 307.739.3393

August 8, 2011

11-68 

Teton Interagency firefighters suppressed a small lightning-caused fire in Grand Teton National Park on Sunday, August 7. The passage of a thunderstorm on Sunday afternoon ignited a single snag fire just south of Signal Mountain, near a small pothole pond called Cow Lake.

The Cow Lake Fire was initially reported by a visitor who saw the lightning strike and rising smoke around 2:30 p.m. from the top of Signal Mountain. Teton Interagency fire crews assigned to park-based engines, along with fire monitoring staff, pinpointed the fire and reached its location at 4 p.m.

As a naturally ignited fire burning in Grand Teton National Park's conditional fire zone, the Cow Lake Fire was assessed for multiple management strategies. Based on guidelines in the park's Fire Management Plan, the decision was made to suppress the fire due to its proximity to telecommunication equipment and nearby lodging facilities. The Cow Lake Fire was contained at one tenth of an acre around 6:30 p.m. and will be monitored until declared out.

Warmer temperatures and drying vegetation have prompted Teton Interagency fire officials to increase the fire danger rating to "Moderate." A moderate rating means that fires in open cured grasslands will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days, and fires in forested areas may spread slowly to moderately fast, with short-distance spotting possible.

As vegetation continues to cure and dry during August, fire managers urge visitors and local residents to be cautious with campfires and other flammable materials.

Did You Know?

Tetons from the north, photo by Erin Himmel

Did you know that a large fault lies at the base of the Teton Range? Every few thousand years earthquakes up to a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter Scale signal movement on the Teton fault, lifting the mountains skyward and hinging the valley floor downward.