MISSOULA - The Fire danger has been raised to "moderate" in Missoula County.
The Missoula County Fire Protection Association (MCFPA) said due to increasing temperatures, reduced precipitation, and drying vegetation, wildland fire officials have raised the fire danger to "moderate".
The MCFPA notes when the fire danger is moderate, fires readily start in open, dry grassland and will burn and spread quickly on windy days. Most wood fires will spread slowly to moderately. Residents and visitors are asked to use caution, especially as they enjoy the outdoors this upcoming holiday weekend.
On average, three out of every four wildfires in Missoula County are human-caused, with the top causes being debris and open burning, escaped or abandoned campfires, equipment or vehicle use, and fireworks.
Fireworks are prohibited on all federal and state public lands, private classified as forest lands, Missoula City and on City Open Space lands, and Missoula County Parks and County-managed Recreation Areas.
Visit the City of Missoula website for information on novelty fireworks that are allowed within Missoula City limits.
Know before you go by visiting the MCFPA's for further local information and Montana Fire Information on fire restrictions in place throughout the state, as well as information on current active fires and wildfire preparedness.
All outdoor burning in Missoula County, which includes the General, Essential Agriculture, and Prescribed Wildland Outdoor Burning seasons, will close effective July 1st.
“Outdoor burning seasons have been open for four months, with pockets of good burning weather throughout. Spring burning should be complete by now. With weather trending hotter and drier, plentiful grasses beginning to dry out, and many firefighting resources helping neighboring regions, it is time to restrict the risk of human caused starts due to open burning and focus available resources on fire season readiness,” explains Ashleigh Burwick, Missoula Unit Fire Management Officer with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Southwestern Land Office.
Debris/open burning sparks were the top human-caused wildfire start in 2021 and 2020, so closing open burning when fire danger goes up and conditions are dry helps to reduce the chance of those unwanted wildfires.