Park Employee Suffers Thermal Burns in Old Faithful Area
Usually, it's the tourists that get burned. Not this time. She is from Rhode Island but had been employed by a park concessionaire
She's just 19 years old and she now has “significant thermal burns” from the scolding water in the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone National Park. The incident happened sometime early Thursday morning according to park officials.
The young lady received second and third-degree burns on 5% of her body. She has whisked away and taken to West Yellowstone, Montana, and then flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center's Burn Center in Idaho Falls.
What we don't have are the details. The news release did not provide any information about what happened. It only said that they were investigating. So we don't know if she had done something stupid, if it was an accident, or if she was trying to help somebody.
The closest understanding we have is this part of the press release: “The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface,” the release noted. “Everyone must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”
What happened this Thursday was the first of the year involving Yellowstone’s thermal areas, park officials said.
Back in 2020, a woman trespassing in the park was seriously burned.
A woman who illegally made her way into Yellowstone National Park fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful and had to be flown to a burn center for treatment, officials say.
Yellowstone National Park is currently closed due to concerns regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The visitor, whose name has not been released publicly, illegally entered the park Tuesday morning and, while taking photos and backing up, fell into the thermal feature, according to park spokeswoman Linda Veress.
It was not immediately clear into which thermal feature the female visitor fell, but Veress said the woman did suffer burns.
After making her way out of the thermal feature, the woman drove north through the park and was contacted by park rangers about a mile south of Mammoth Hot Springs.
Due to her injuries, of which the extent remains unclear, she was flown to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment.
The incident remains under investigation, Veress said.
Then there was the case of a Connecticut woman who will serve a week in jail for walking on thermal areas in Yellowstone National Park.
According to a news release, 26-year-old Madeline S. Casey was handed the sentence.
Casey was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, $40 in fees, and a $1,000 community service payment to the Yellowstone Forever Geological Resource Fund.
The US Attorney's Office says Casey was with two others as they made their way up to a thermal pool and geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin. She and another unnamed person got off the boardwalk and were walking on the thermal ground.
As is the case with most tourist incidents in Yellowstone, there were multiple witnesses who took photos and videos of the party.
Park Public Affairs Officer Morgan Warthin noted that boardwalks in the park exist to protect visitors and delicate thermal formations.
"The ground is fragile and then and scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns," Warthin said.
Acting US Attorney Bob Murray said some simply do not appreciate the dangerousness of the "crusty and unstable ground, boiling water and scalding mud."
"(T)he National Park Service does a darn good job of warning them to stay on the boardwalk and trail in thermal areas," Murray said. "Yet there will always be those like Ms. Casey who don't get it. Although a criminal prosecution and jail time may seem harsh, it's better than spending time in a hospital's burn unit."
Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Hambrick prosecuted the case.