MARTIN CITY — Flathead National Forest officials are warning Flathead residents of the dangers of open burning during the summer months after a close call Tuesday in Martin City.
The US Forest Service (USFS) , Martin City Fire Department and Hungry Horse Fire Department responded to a residential fire Tuesday afternoon that needed assistance from a USFS helicopter to put out the blaze.
The Hungry Horse Fire Department said the fire started from a residential burn pile that got out of control and quickly spread to nearby timber. The fire grew to half an acre before full containment.
Open burning is illegal in Montana from July 1 through the end of September.
USFS spokeswoman Beth Pargman said open burning is extremely dangerous this summer due to the extreme heat and drought conditions across Northwest Montana.
Pargman said fire resources are already spread thin this summer and residents need to diligently follow open burning rules to help prevent the spread of wildfires.
“When there are additional fires on the landscape it causes fire managers to have to stretch resources and reprioritize the resources that we do have to actively fight [a] fire,” said Pargman.
Pargman said residents may be held liable for fires started during closed burning season. She said Tuesday’s fire in Martin City is under investigation.