It’s National Forest Week and rangers in Western Montana are urging campers to show their care by exercising caution with campfires and doing their part to prevent wildfires.
With that in mind, Lolo National Forest official Kate Jerman has these facts and tips for campers:
The Lolo National Forest is in HIGH Fire Danger
- With warm and dry weather persisting through the weekend, those who are visiting the forest are asked to remain cautious and vigilant with campfires!
- The Lolo National Forest moved into HIGH fire danger at the beginning of this week, this means vegetation is susceptible to catching fire and spreading quickly. It is up to all of us to be responsible and keep the forest green.
- To date this season, firefighters on the Lolo National Forest have responded to 35 wildfires within the Lolo National Forest protection area (32 human-caused and 3 lightning strikes) burning a total of 12 acres. While firefighters have successfully contained and controlled these small incidents, the potential for a wildfire to start exists
Campfire Best Practices:
- Campfires in Montana cannot exceed 3’ high and 3’ wide
- Campfires are best lit in metal rings; rock rings with 2 feet of soil cleared of flammable vegetation are a second-best choice. If a rock ring is your only option, try to locate your camp where a rock ring already exists to lighten your impact.
- Campfires should never be left unattended. This is especially dangerous in the heat of the day, when winds pick up and light fuels dry out.
- A campfire isn’t dead-out until it is cold to the touch. Drown your campfire with water, stir the coals in the water with a shovel, and feel the coals with the back of your hand to ensure they’re out. This is the same procedures firefighters us during the “mop-up” phase of firefighting.
- Visit www.BeOutdoorSafe.org [gcc02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] to help spread the word and be an active steward of our great outdoors
General Recreation Information:
Please recreate responsibly. The Forest remains open for recreation and it is busy out there! Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as follow state and local health guidance. Recreating responsibly means planning ahead and following the same guidelines for social distancing and personal hygiene while recreating as you would at home and in your community. Adhere to group size restrictions for the local area and continue frequent hand washing and other sanitary measures.
- Food Storage: The Lolo National Forest is located in bear country. There has been an uptick in bear activity in several campgrounds around Seeley Lake. Please remain bear aware and properly store your food to keep yourself and bears safe. Food, carcasses, and attractants must be stored in a bear-resistant container or stored in a bear-resistant manner if they are unattended. In the front country (most of the Forest), these same items must also be properly stored in camp at night, unless they are being consumed, prepared for transport or storage. For specific information visit the food storage order and map.
- Know Before You Go: Check in with your local Ranger Station for an update on current conditions. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and remain cautious around flowing waters, especially at creek crossings.
- Be a good steward: The Lolo National Forest is all yours to discover and care for. Practice stewardship and take care of the places you love to play by packing out garbage, being considerate of other visitors, giving wildlife plenty of space, planning ahead and preparing for your trip.