Posted: Jul 4, 2012 3:05 PM by Tara Oster - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 4, 2012 7:14 PM
MISSOULA- While the hotter temperatures bring great camping weather, they also increase the fire danger.
Missoula firefighters said even with the recent rain, it won't take long for all the green grass to dry out and become the perfect fuel.
So while you're camping and cooking s'mores over a fire, it's important to know how to extinguish those campfires. Missoula Rural Fire District Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Chris Newman said campers also need to pay attention to campfire restrictions.
"We're not far away from having a potential for a really bad fire season, just like they are in the east right now," he said.
Newman said unattended campfires left to go out on their own cause many fires across Montana each year, so he and an engine crew gave Montana's News Station a demonstration on how to properly extinguish fires.
"The first thing we want to do is put ample amounts of water in the fire," Newman said. "And then we want to mix it up and then continue this process back and forth with water and mixing it up until you don't see any more smoke or embers."
"We'll get to the final stage of making sure it's out by running your hand over the top of it, not actually putting your hand in the fire obviously, but just making sure there's no heat coming off of that area," he said as the engine crew extinguished a small campfire.
Newman said smothering a fire with dirt is not a good idea, since coals beneath can smolder for days. Wind or other events can easily uncover the coals which could start large fires.
"If you cause a fire, either by fireworks or by a campfire left unattended, you can be liable for the cost of suppression."
Newman said that cost can range from thousands to millions of dollars.