BELGRADE, Mont. – Wednesday was a busy day for the Manhattan and Central Valley Fire Department.
Sparks from a train started a large wildland fire just outside of the city of Manhattan. The wildland fire spread for nearly four miles almost to the city of Belgrade along Frontage road.
Springtime fires are not as uncommon as you may think.
“A lot of people are doing their controlled burn, burning their ditches, burn piles, this is the time of year that everybody gets cleaned up and ready for summer,” Central Valley Fire Department Training Captain Chris Dahlhauser said. “People aren’t quite as cautious this time of year, because it has been raining, we have had the snowpack, as they could be, so typically this is one of our busiest times a year.”
This has a lot to do with plants and vegetation that are still recovering from winter
“We get a little bit of sunshine for a couple of hours, we get a little bit of wind and that fine grass just dries right out and off it runs and as we saw yesterday in that wind,” Dahlhauser said. “It will carry quite a ways.”
If you plan on burning this spring, you need to be prepared for before, during, and after – a lot of that has to do with having a water source nearby.
“So hoses or something in case it does start to run on you, you need to be able to put that out,” Dahlhauser added
Also, be aware of changing weather conditions.
“Are we going to get winds in the afternoon like we typically do in the springtime, are we going to get some changes in the weather. Those are big deals you need to check on,” Dahlhauser added
It could take several weeks for all of the area’s vegetation to really green up, so for your springtime burning, you’re going to have to be careful.
You are required to have a burn permit for Spring burning, you can find out how to get one here.