MISSOULA – Western Montana fire officials have upped the fire danger in Missoula County to “moderate.”
The Missoula County Fire Protection Association (MCFPA) reports warm temperatures and a recent lack of precipitation have combined to dry the heavy, dead fuels on the forest floors in western Montana, making them susceptible to wildfire.
Recent lightning strikes have kindled fires in snags. However, MCFPA reports grass and shrubs are near their peak of moisture content this time of year, so fires ignited in dead fuel spread more slowly on the green vegetation.
To reflect that mixed condition, the MCFPA member agencies have moved fire danger signs to “moderate.”
The Bitterroot and Lolo National Forests also recently raised the fire level to “moderate.”
THE MCFPA is asking the public to be careful with campfires, to keep fires small, and never leave fire unattended until it is cold to the touch, dead-out.
Additionally, keep water at the ready when using a campfire, and use a shovel to mix and stir the water, burning material, and dirt together to put it out.