Woman illegally visits Yellowstone, falls into thermal feature

Woman illegally visits Yellowstone, falls into thermal feature
Empty boardwalks at the Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park closed to visitors on March 24, 2020 because of the Covid-19 virus threat to communities sounding Yellowstone. (William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. — Park rangers stopped a woman who was illegally driving through Yellowstone National Park Tuesday and discovered that she had sustained burns after falling into a thermal feature earlier in the day.

The unidentified woman had reportedly backed up while taking photos and fell into a hot spring or hole where hot gases emerge near Old Faithful geyser, park spokeswoman Linda Veress said in an email.

Despite her injuries, the woman drove for roughly 50 miles until park rangers finally stopped her near Mammoth Hot Springs.

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She was taken by helicopter to a burn center in Idaho Falls. Her condition is not known.

Park regulations require visitors to stay on designated trails and boardwalks at Yellowstone, both for visitor safety and to protect the park’s natural resources.

Last year, Cade Edmond Siemers, 48, told park rangers he was walking near Old Faithful geyser without a flashlight when he tripped and fell into a hot spring, according to the Associated Press.

Siemers was also airlifted and hospitalized with severe burns. Rangers who interviewed him suspected he’d been drinking alcohol.

In 2016, park rangers issued a $1,000 fine to a tourist visiting Yellowstone National Park after he walked off a boardwalk and collected thermal water from Mammoth Hot Springs

Later that year, rangers said a father and son suffered burns after they walked off a designated trail in the Upper Geyser Basin. One day later, 23-year-old Colin Nathaniel Scott walked off a boardwalk and slipped and fell into a hot spring at Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin. He did not survive.

Yellowstone National Park has been closed since March 24. Yellowstone and nearby Grand Teton National Park will announce plans for a phased reopening Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.