Fire season heating up on Lolo


August 6, 2020

MISSOULA – The Lolo National Forest protection area received over 300 lightning strikes from storms on the night of July 30. Firefighters responded to and rapidly contained four small fires across the Forest since the storm. Although firefighters were able to effectively contain and control these fires, fire officials would like to remind the public to remain vigilant and cautious with the persistent hot and dry weather.

The Lolo National Forest remains in HIGH fire danger. As of July 30, there have been 44 small wildfires on the Forest; 38 human-caused and 6 lighting strikes for a total of 15.8 acres burned.

Although no campfire fire restrictions are currently in place, officials urge visitors and locals to remain cautious with campfires in the Forest and follow campfire best practices. They also ask motorists to avoid idling hot vehicles near grass.

Campfire Best Practices:

• Campfires in Montana cannot exceed three feet high by three feet 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 for more information on how to be a steward of public lands.

Fire officials ask that if anyone sees smoke rising from the forest, that they report it right away either to 911 or to the Missoula Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 829-7070.


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