Hot and dry weather make this the worst time of year for wildfires in the Western United States, and Yellowstone National Park is in danger of going up in flames each summer. The risk of massive wildfires increases each year due to the ongoing climate crisis. For this reason, there are many Yellowstone National Park fire restrictions in place to help keep wildlife and tourists safe from wildfires.
The rules change throughout the year depending on the weather, but this post will cover the regulations in place when the fire danger level is “very high,” as it is most summers.
Be sure to check out the backcountry if you’re up for a real adventure, but be mindful that the untamed backcountry can be more prone to wildfires. Currently, all charcoal and wood fire campfires are prohibited in the backcountry, even in established fire rings.
Smoking is also banned throughout the backcountry and on all trails, except in designated areas. Smokers may light up next to the designated fire rings in campsites or within a three-foot diameter area barren of all flammable materials.
You don’t have to live without heat in the dark, though. Portable gas stoves and lanterns are currently allowed. However, the area must be barren or cleared of overhead and surrounding materials. Be sure to double-check your surroundings before starting your stove or lantern.
Frontcountry and developed areas
The first restrictions are a bit more lax in developed areas. However, they’re still in place and must be followed. Campfires are only allowed in established campgrounds and day-use picnic areas. If you start a fire, it must be extinguished and cold to the touch before you leave the site.
Smoking is only permitted in an enclosed vehicle, a single-family dwelling or a day-use picnic area.
Why must you follow these rules?
Some tourists have the faulty thinking that their small fire can’t possibly do any harm, so they think Yellowstone National Park fire restrictions don’t apply to them. That’s far from the case. These are the reasons you need to follow all posted rules:
- Stay safe: A single spark from a campfire or cigarette is enough to start a wildfire in an instant. Not only does that jeopardize your safety, but it puts all of the other Yellowstone tourists in danger.
- Protect the park: A wildfire will completely destroy all of the plants and animals in its path. What’s worse is that it can take decades for the park to return to the state it was in before the fire. Do your part to protect Yellowstone by following all of the fire regulations.
- Avoid fines: As you can imagine, the authorities take these fire regulations very seriously. Starting fires in unauthorized zones can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time.
Book a tour with us
There’s still plenty of time to see Yellowstone this summer, but don’t do it alone—book a tour with Yellowstone Tour Guides. Contact us today to book a trip or to learn some more about the current Yellowstone National Park fire restrictions..