Fire season continues, be careful with fire
October 28, 2021
MISSOULA - While many of us are feeling the chill of winter approaching, wildland firefighters in Missoula County are still feeling the heat of fire season as they run from one end of the county to the other, working long hours to put out wildfires caused by human carelessness.
Eight human caused wildfires occurred in Missoula County over this past week, the result of abandoned campfires, illegal debris burning and careless sparks. Missoula County Fire Protection Association fire managers want to remind residents and visitors that fire danger remains Moderate in the Missoula area.
The area is still under severe drought and the precipitation received so far has not been widespread…there are many areas throughout the county that remain extremely dry. Even if an area has received moisture, warming fires are often placed in dry cubby holes such as under the protective branches of a large pine surrounded by a thick bed of pine needles…a dangerous spot for a campfire to be! Especially if it is not extinguished adequately, which was the case on the Game Creek 2 Fire by Potomac.
“Even though the rain is bringing a much-needed reprieve from the current dry conditions, long-term drought conditions remain in effect,” said Ashleigh Burwick, Fire Management Officer for the DNRC Southwestern Land Office’s Missoula Unit. “Recreationists need to be cognizant of where they have a fire, especially if utilizing the canopy of a large tree.”
The weather forecast does call for an extended period of moisture, but while we wait for consistent WIDESPREAD moisture to come, please use caution. If a campfire is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave! Drown, stir, drown some more, then feel. One less spark is one less wildfire!
Missoula County has experienced 185 wildfires this year, with nearly 70% of those caused by humans. While abandoned campfires are a leading cause, illegal or careless debris burning is the top cause. Outdoor burning in Missoula County is by permit only, and the only burning that will be permitted currently is prescribed wildland and essential agriculture burning. General Burning Season is closed until March 1, 2022.