Fire danger hiked to “high” on Bitterroot National Forest

Posted at 9:27 AM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 11:31:05-04
(MTN News file photo)

HAMILTON – The fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest was raised to “High” on Friday morning.

Anna Bateson with the Bitterroot National Forest notes that hotter and drier weather is predicted with the possibility of thunderstorms into early next week.

When the fire danger is “high” fires will start from most causes and will spread rapidly. Short-distance spotting is also common.

There are currently no fire restrictions in place on the Bitterroot National Forest but Bateson notes that with drier conditions and “high” fire danger, visitors need to be careful while recreating in the forest.

Firefighters on the Bitterroot National Forest have extinguished 30 lightning-caused fires and 11 human-caused fires so far this year.

Those planning camping trips should follow these fire safety tips:

  • Be sure to pack a shovel and a bucket for extinguishing your campfire.  Keep campfires small, and completely extinguish them before leaving camp. The best method is to douse the fire with water, stir the ashes and douse again, making sure that all ashes are cold to the touch.  It is illegal to have unattended campfires.  ALL fires must be DEAD OUT when left unattended and before leaving the site.
  • Smokers should light up only in areas cleared of all flammable debris.  Cigarette butts should never be thrown from vehicle windows.
  • Those exploring the forest and back country in vehicles must stay on established roads and trails and avoid driving over dry grass and brush that could be ignited by hot exhaust systems.  Firewood cutters should operate chainsaws equipped with spark arresters in the cool morning hours and keep a shovel and fire extinguisher nearby.