KALISPELL — Flathead Valley residents are taking advantage of spring open burning season to get outside, practice social-distancing with COVID-19 in mind, and safely complete annual fuels-reduction work around home and property.
Multiple widespread high wind events over this past winter resulted in the uprooting of many large trees in surrounding communities.
Residents are now using spring open burn season to burn branches and make progress with the clean-up.
Interagency wildfire managers support any fuels reduction work around home and property but recommend waiting until fall to burn large machine-piles with stumps, roots, and large branches that are currently green.
This will allow material to dry over the summer months and burn hotter with less smoke in the fall.
Fall is also a preferred time to burn as there is an increased chance of cooler, wetter weather. Spring burns have a higher likelihood of escaping with the afternoon winds.
Annually, 70% of wildfires are human-caused, and the majority of those are escaped or illegal debris burns.
Alternatively, people can build and feed manageably-sized hand-piles of primarily dead material that will burn hot and with less smoke.
Small piles will also help keep fires under control and minimize unnecessary impact to local emergency responders and firefighters who are already short-staffed and who may experience an increase in medical calls.