MISSOULA - A change in our weather pattern has prompted fire officials to lower the fire danger level in Missoula County to "very high."
A cooler, low-pressure weather pattern that has settled into western Montana has helped to increase fuel moistures, prompting fire protection agencies to lower the fire danger effective immediately.
Under very high fire danger, fires will start easily from all causes, immediately spread rapidly, and increase quickly in intensity.
“We move the arrow to better respond to actual conditions on the ground,” explained Missoula Rural Fire District Fire Chief Chris Newman. “Fire danger is the potential for fires to ignite, spread, and require suppression."
"It is a science-based calculation using current and predicted conditions of fuels and weather, but fire managers also apply their local knowledge of how fire works on their landscape," Newman continued. "The science indicates that we have decreased in fire danger and that is what we are seeing on the ground as well.”
People are still urged to use extra caution when outdoors due to the very high fire danger and to visit www.MTFireInfo.org to learn of local fire activity and fire restrictions that are in place throughout Montana.
There are no fire restrictions in place in Missoula County at this time but outdoor burning by permit remains closed. Missoula County has seen 21 reported wildland fires in the last week with officials reporting that unattended and/or escaped campfires are the top culprit for human-caused fires.