Yellowstone Enacts Stage 1 Restrictions, Fire Danger "Very High"

Yellowstone Enacts Stage 1 Restrictions, Fire Danger “Very High”

Written by on July 5, 2021

After an incredibly dry June and its first fire of the season, Yellowstone joins the rest of northwest Wyoming by implementing Stage One fire restrictions.

On July 1st, Yellowstone officials announced Stage One Fire Restrictions were enacted throughout the entire park. Unfortunately, the restrictions were accompanied by raising the park’s fire danger level from High to Very High.

As of July 1, all federal lands in northwest Wyoming are under Stage One Fire Restrictions. Other areas include Shoshone, Bighorn, and Bridger Teton National Forests and all lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

In the course of less than a month, Yellowstone’s fire danger rose from Moderate to Very High. It’s possible the fire danger to reach Extreme at some point in Summer 2021.

Stage One Fire Restrictions with Yellowstone National Park are more specific than those in other federal areas – but with the same goal to avoid all human-caused fires.

Backcountry and trails


  • Charcoal or wood fire campfires in the backcountry, including those in established fire rings.
    Smoking in the backcountry and on all trails, except immediately adjacent to the provided fire ring in designated campsites or within a 3-foot-diameter area barren of all flammable material (e.g., standing in water, on a boat).


  • Portable gas stoves and lanterns in barren areas or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet.

Frontcountry and developed areas


  • Smoking, but only in:
    • an enclosed vehicle
    • a single-family dwelling
    • a developed campground
    • a day-use picnic area
    • within a 3-foot-diameter area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material
  • Campfires in designated fire rings in frontcountry developed campgrounds (Madison, Mammoth, Slough Creek, Canyon, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Lewis Lake, Grant Village, and Bridge Bay) and day-use picnic areas.

Regardless of their location, all campfires must be cold to the touch before being abandoned. Fireworks are prohibited at all times.

Visitors are reminded that negligently starting a wildland fire may result in fines and/or imprisonment.

There has already been one confirmed fire in Yellowstone in Summer 2021. Lightning sparked the Elk Creek Fire on a ridge south of Blacktail Drive and west of Petrified Tree in the park’s northern section.

Due to its proximity to roads and park attractions, the Elk Creek Fire was “immediately suppressed.” Park rangers contained the flames to less than an acre.

It’s a potential recipe for disaster, as Summer 2021 continues to be abnormally dry and Yellowstone enters its busiest season of the year.

May 2021 was the busiest May on record in the park. This follows record-breaking attendance recorded in August, September, and October 2020.

Last summer’s Lone Star Fire was the largest of several reported in Yellowstone.  Another lightning-strike fire, over 4,000 acres were burned before the fire was contained and put out – largely by natural forces – in October.

For the latest information on Yellowstone’s fire status, check out the Current Fire Activity. In addition, the most up-to-date information on active Yellowstone fires is posted on InciWeb.

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