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Fire managers encourage 'smoke reports' as hot spell continues

BitterrootHazeAug22.jpg
Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-21 11:49:57-04

HAMILTON - As the hot, extremely dry weather continues this weekend, local fire managers are encouraging people to continue calling in with reports if they see a column of smoke that might indicate a fire start.

While existing fires are active in these conditions — and visibility can be limited when there's already smoke in the air — the US Forest Service (USFS) and other agencies say they always appreciate reports of people spotting a possible fire start.

That's especially true this weekend, as extreme fire conditions are continuing until we get a possible shift in the weather this coming week.

"Especially if it's something small 'cause, that's something we're not likely going to know about," explained Bitterroot National Forest Fire Manager Mark Wilson. "So yeah, calling and letting us know. And again, we do have ten staff lookouts on the force, so we have some pretty good coverage, you know, across the forest and fire patrol. But yeah, it's always good to get a call."

Beyond watching for smoke, Wilson and his colleagues are urging people to use every bit of caution they can right now to keep from starting new fires.