HUNGRY HORSE — Fire danger is on the rise in the Flathead as multiple small wildfires have flared up in the region the last few days.
“Fire season is here; we’re definitely being busy,” Flathead National Forest Service Spokesman Toby Thompson tells MTN News.
Flathead National Forest fire danger moved to “Very High” on Monday due to a recent uptick in small wildfires in the region, including a one-acre fire on Desert Mountain just northeast of Martin City that flared up Sunday night.
Thompson said three fires have started in the region in the last three days.
“We’ve had fireworks start, the Canyon Creek fire was probably a huckleberry picker, we’ve had several lightning strikes on the Flathead Forest,” said Thompson.
Thompson said higher than normal temperatures and below-average rainfall prompted the change to “Very High” fire danger.
“And our fuels are drying out, so if we get the start in the right spot, we could be seeing a large fire,” added Thompson.
Thompson said he’s concerned about the record number of visitors to Northwest Montana this summer leading to a possible increase in human-caused fires.
“The fewer human starts that we get the better, that takes a lot off of our plate, you know we’re busy with just the lightning strikes, so if people can just be careful with any kind of campfire that they have,” explained Thompson.
Thompson asks those who see smoke or fire to call 911 immediately.
“911 will get ahold of us through our dispatch and that’s the best thing to do,” said Thompson.
Thompson said the fire on Desert Mountain just north of Martin City started from a lightning strike on Thursday that didn’t flare up until Sunday night.