Trash Fire

By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole Daily, click here for full story

After getting a call to put out an unattended burn pile Sunday night, fire officials are reminding residents not to light up and leave.

Authorities received a call at around 8:30 p.m. from a concerned neighbor who spotted a bonfire left burning near a construction site in Grand Teton Circle, Battalion Chief Matt Redwine said.

The fire turned out to be mostly sawdust and scrap lumber, and responders quickly put it out, he said.

Unattended warming and trash fires are the most common culprits in human-caused wildfires, according to records kept by Teton Interagency Fire.

In 2012, an unattended burn barrel in a yard near the mouth of Wilson Canyon sparked the Horsethief Canyon wildfire, which scorched more than 3,000 acres south of Snow King and triggered an evacuation advisory.

This time of year in particular is a risky time to turn your back on a burning fire, Redwine said.

Overnight frosts kill grasses and light brush, making for a lot of dead, dry plants that can easily ignite.

“The fire danger has been moderate for months,” he said, “but until it snows we are about as dry as we can possibly be when it comes to grasses and brush and other light fuels.

“Even with the rain we’ve had,” Redwine said, “it only takes one hour of sunshine to dry that stuff out completely after it rains. It’s a time to be especially careful.”

Contact Emma Breysse at 732-7066 or

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