A woman has received a jail sentence and hefty fine after walking directly on dangerous thermal features at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

26-year-old Madeline Casey from Connecticut pleaded guilty to the misdemeanour offence and served seven days in jail.

“Although a criminal prosecution and jail time may seem harsh, it’s better than spending time in a hospital’s burn unit,” acting US Attorney Bob Murray said.

In July, Madeline and a friend ignored safety signs and left the protective walkway to walk directly on the ground.

“The ground is fragile and thin and scalding water just below the surface can cause severe or fatal burns.”

“More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs,” park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said in the statement.

The judge ordered Madeline to pay US$2040 in fines, fees and community service as well as her week-long jail stint.

She is also banned from re-entering Yellowstone National Park during her two year probation.

This incident has prompted park officials to stress the importance of adhering to safety signs through the park.

Madeline is just one of many people who have ignored safety signs at the park and landed themselves in trouble.

In May last year, a woman was burned after falling into a thermal feature at Yellowstone when it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She told park rangers she was moving back to get photos when she fell in the hot thermals.

Two men last year were caught trespassing on the cone of Old Faithful, which is a closed thermal area.

They were sentenced to 10 days in jail and five years of probation, as well being ordered to pay $738 restitution and banned from the park for five years.

Park Chief Ranger Sarah Davis said, “Visitors must realise that walking on thermal features is dangerous, damages the resource, and illegal.”

Image credit: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.