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By Griffen Smith
Pathfinder 

Fourth of July  - Be cautious with the upcoming fire season

 


The Fourth of July is an excellent time to get outside with family and friends and recreate on the Lolo National Forest. With more people out recreating, the Seeley Lake Ranger District is asking people to do their part when it comes to wildfire prevention.

“We are expecting another busy Fourth of July weekend on the Seeley Lake Ranger District,” said Quinn Carver, District Ranger. “We have had record numbers of visitors in our campgrounds this summer. As we head into another holiday weekend on the District, we are asking people to recreate responsibly, make sure campfires are dead-out and be considerate to one another in the campgrounds and on the trails.”

The Forest remains open for recreation. Visitors to National Forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Center for Disease Control. In the Seeley area there has only been one smoke report, which Carver credited to the public doing a good job making sure all fires are extinguished. 

“As we head into warm and increasingly drier conditions, we encourage folks to remain vigilant and cautious with fire,” Carver said.

Though campfires are allowed on National Forest land, other Fourth of July activities, like fireworks, are prohibited. 

Recreating responsibly also means planning ahead and following the same guidelines for social distancing and personal hygiene while recreating as the public follows at home and in their community. Adhere to group size restrictions for the local area and continue frequent hand washing and other sanitary measures. 

Top three things people should consider before heading out:

1. Plan ahead and know before you go. Certain services may still be unavailable, so visitors are asked to plan accordingly and remain flexible. 

2. Adhere to local health and safety guidance and take precautions recommended by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/visitors.html. 

3. Recreate responsibly and be cautious to ensure safety of everyone.

More tips from the Lolo:

• Exercise caution with campfires: Fire danger rating for the Lolo National Forest remains low for now, but the potential for a wildfire to start still exists. Remember to never leave a campfire unattended and make sure coals are cool to the touch before leaving.

• Camping and Rentals: Seeley Lake campgrounds are first-come, first-serve with the exception of group camping sites which require a reservation in advance through http://www.recreation.gov. For a list of camping opportunities please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lolo/news-events/?cid=fseprd733816. Please be aware that rentals and lookouts will not be cleaned in between use. As in previous years, it is up to the individual renters to bring their own cleaning supplies and to clean before and after use of the site.

• 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 food to keep people 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 https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lolo/home/?cid=stelprdb5287227.

• Fireworks are prohibited on all National Forests year-round.

• 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: Practice stewardship and take care of public lands by packing out garbage, being considerate of other visitors, giving wildlife plenty of space and planning ahead.  

For more information visit the Lolo National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/lolo/ or  follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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