A 19-year-old woman was hospitalized in serious condition Thursday after suffering second- and third-degree burns at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
The park stated in a news release that the incident is under investigation and cautioned tourists to remain on boardwalks while visiting thermal areas.
The unidentified woman, a Yellowstone concessions employee from Rhode Island, suffered burns to 5% of her body.
She was treated initially by park rangers, then rushed by ambulance to West Yellowstone, and life-flighted to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
The park did not say how far the woman ventured beyond the boardwalk, but stated:
“The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Everyone must always remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features.”
This is the first serious burn injury at a Yellowstone thermal area in 2021. In 2020, a 3-year-old suffered second-degree burns on the lower body and back, and a tourist who entered the park illegally fell into a thermal feature near Old Faithful.
Linda Veress, a park spokeswoman, told FTW Outdoors that more than 20 people have died in the park from burns suffered “after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.”
–Old Faithful image showing tourists on the boardwalk is courtesy of Yellowstone National Park