Fire prevention team asking people to be vigilant to catch blazes as risk climbs

Posted at 8:25 AM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 10:25:19-04

MISSOULA – Western Montana’s Fire Prevention Team says that without any immediate threat of thunderstorms it’s likely if a wildfire gets rolling right now it’s going to be someone’s fault.

That’s why they’re urging all of us to not only be careful but to also call authorities if you see a potential fire hazard.

While the number of human-caused small fires has dropped some in the past week, we’ve still had some very close calls. So far, local firefighters have been able to catch those blazes while they were still small. 

With much of the area moving into Stage II Fire Restrictions campfires "should" be less of a problem of people are following the rules. That turns attention to fires caused by faulty equipment sending off sparks. 

But whatever the source, the experts say everyone needs to pitch in to avoid — and report — fire hazards.

"Yeah, so we can’t see everything. So we’re asking the public too — if you see something say something. And we’re going to try and squash these fires, these human-caused fires," said Leah Rediske with the Western Montana Fire Prevention Team.

"Right now we’re not getting the lightning storms lined up in our direction, which is great. But we can also reduce the human-caused fires because they are preventable." 

You don’t have to look far for an example of how devastating a human-caused fire can be in these conditions.

The Roaring Lion fire south of Hamilton was caused by an illegal campfire in 2016, setting off an inferno that burned for weeks across thousands of acres and destroyed several homes.