GALLATIN COUNTY — Temperatures in the high eighties and warm, dry wind means an increased risk of fires starting and spreading out of control.
It’s been a mild fire season so far, thanks to the rain in the late spring and early summer.
But fire season isn't over yet.
With expected temperatures in the high eighties this week in Gallatin County, residents are encouraged to be mindful of the “x factor”: warm, dry winds.
"The one thing to remember about fire season here is one word, and that’s wind. And if it’s windy, fire can move and it can move quick," said Jason Jarrett, Search and Rescue Commander at the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office.
That means taking specific preventative measures, especially out in the backcountry.
"When you’re done with you campfire, number one, don’t leave it unattended. Number two, when you leave that fire, even if it’s just for a couple hours, make sure you fully extinguish that fire," said Jeff Shanafelt, Fire Management Officer at Custer-Gallatin National Forest.
"That means mixing in water or dirt, repeating that, until you can feel that campfire feels cold to the touch."
And if you do come across a fire in the backcountry, do not go uphill from it.
"Fire moves very quickly uphill, you don’t want to be above it. You wanna get away and get below and out of it," said Jarrett. "You don’t want to be in any draws or canyons with fire below you because that turns them into chimneys."