MISSOULA - Continued hot and dry conditions have prompted Missoula County fire protection agencies to raise the fire danger in the Missoula area to "extreme," effective immediately.
Extreme fire danger means that fires will start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. All fires are potentially serious and direct attack is rarely possible.
Fire managers note that controlling sparks is especially important. Missoula County has experienced 61 reported wildland fires since the beginning of the year, with approximately 80% of those being human-caused.
“With conditions already so dry and with no reprieve in sight, it is critical that the public exercise caution while recreating outdoors,” emphasizes Ashleigh Burwick, Fire Management Officer for the Missoula Unit of the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation’s Southwestern Land Office.
“Many of our human-caused wildfires have been abandoned or escaped campfires and illegal trash or debris burning. All outdoor burning is closed in Missoula County, and it is never okay to leave a campfire unattended," Burwick continued. "When you are finished, make sure your campfire is cold to the touch—if it is too hot to touch then it is too hot to leave.”
While implementing area fire restrictions is being discussed, there are currently no fire restrictions in place in Missoula County aside from the fact that outdoor burning by permit remains closed.
Additional information on fire restrictions can be found at https://www.mtfireinfo.org/. People can also prepare for wildfire emergencies by signing up for Missoula County emergency alerts here. Wildfire preparedness tips can be found at https://mcfpa.org/.
The Lolo National Forest also hiked the fire danger level to extreme on Thursday.