Woman Suffers Serious Burns After Jumping into Yellowstone Thermal Waters to Rescue Runaway Dog

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Thermal waters at Yellowstone National Park, WY.

On Monday, a 20-year-old woman from Washington suffered significant thermal burns between her shoulders and feet after jumping into a Yellowstone thermal hot spring to retrieve her dog that had escaped from her car.

The woman and her father parked in Fountain Flat Drive south of Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park. Upon exiting their car, their dog also jumped out and ran into Maiden’s Grave Spring near the Firehole River. The woman went in after her dog to rescue it.

Her father managed to pull her from the feature and then drove to West Yellowstone, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park rangers and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District provided initial care to the woman at West Yellowstone. She was then transported to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

The father also removed the dog from the feature and intended to take it to a veterinarian. Its status is unknown currently.

This incident is under investigation, and the park has no additional information to share.

The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Everyone must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features. Learn more about safety in thermal areas at go.nps.gov/yellsafety.

While in the park, protect your pets by physically controlling them at all times. Pets must be in a car, crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long. They are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or thermal areas.

This is the second significant injury in a thermal area in 2021. The first occurred in September at Old Faithful. In 2020, a three-year-old suffered second-degree-thermal burns to the lower body and back, and a visitor (who illegally entered the park) fell into a thermal feature at Old Faithful while backing up and taking photos. In September 2019, a man suffered severe burns after falling into thermal water near the cone of Old Faithful Geyser. In June 2017, a man sustained severe burns after falling in a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin. In June 2016, a man left the boardwalk and died after slipping into a hot spring in Norris Geyser Basin. In August 2000, one person died, and two people received severe burns from falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Maiden’s Grave Spring, Yellowstone.

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