Woman Burned After Jumping Into Yellowstone Hot Spring to Rescue Her Dog

A Washington woman has been hospitalized with significant burns after attempting to rescue her dog from a thermal hot spring at Yellowstone National Park.

The 20-year-old woman, who has not been publicly named, suffered significant thermal burns between her shoulders and feet, the National Park Service (NPS) said.

She was in the area near Fountain Flat Drive, south of Madison Junction, with her father when the injuries occurred on the afternoon of October 4.

They had been driving nearby when they decided to exit their vehicle and look around.

As they exited their car, their dog jumped down and ran off, leaping into Maiden's Grave Spring near the Firehole River.

The woman followed the dog into the thermal spring in an attempted rescue mission.

She was subsequently pulled out by her father who then drove both her and the dog to West Yellowstone, Montana, where park rangers and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District administered initial care.

The woman was later transported to the Burn Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for further treatment. Her status was unknown early Wednesday.

The woman's father had intended to take the dog to a veterinarian, the NPS said. The status of the animal is also unclear.

Officials have launched an investigation into the incident. The NPS has been contacted for comment.

The agency is urging visitors to exercise caution, especially when visiting Yellowstone National Park in the company of a pet.

"The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface," they said. "Everyone must remain on boardwalks and trails and exercise extreme caution around thermal features."

"Pets must be in a car, crate or on a leash no more than six feet long," they added. "They are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas."

The October 4 incident represents the second major injury reported in a thermal area of Yellowstone this year.

On September 16, a 19-year-old woman—a concessions employee at the park—from Rhode Island suffered second and third degree burns to 5 percent of her body after falling into thermal water near the cone of a geyser known colloquially as Old Faithful.

In October 2020, a 3-year-old suffered second degree thermal burns to their lower body after running from a designated trail and slipping and falling into a small thermal feature.

In May of the same year, a visitor who entered the park illegally also ended up falling into a thermal feature while backing up to take a photo at Old Faithful.

The most recent fatality at the park came in August 2000, when one person died and two others suffered severe burns after falling from a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.

The Norris Geyser Basin at Yellowstone Park.
Norris Geyser Basin at Yellowstone National Park. A woman has been admitted to hospital with significant burns after attempting to rescue a dog who jumped into a hot spring. AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images/Getty