Montana forest fire danger reaches critical point

Montana fire managers move wildfire danger to 'very high'

With little rain in the last several weeks, Northwest Montana fire managers have moved the wildfire danger rating to very high.

The danger rating is elevated for the Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, the Department of Natural Resources Swan Unit, Stillwater Unit, and Kalispell Unit, and other local state lands. Flathead County is also at a very high fire danger.

Fire managers move the fire danger rating to very high when fires start easily from all causes, immediately after ignition, spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. All fires are potentially serious. Direct attack may be dangerous except immediately after ignition. Fires require many resources of multiple types and potentially an incident management team.

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The Bear Creek fire in southwest Montana.

Very high fire danger means that people should think twice before starting a campfire or working with heavy equipment during the heat of the day. The public should double-check that chains aren’t dragging behind vehicles and pay attention to wind and other local factors that could cause a campfire to escape.

“We’ve responded to multiple escaped campfires in the past two weeks,”  

Andy Huntsberger, Flathead National Forest Hungry Horse District Fire Management Officer, said.

“Stick close to your barbecues, make sure your campfire is dead out when you leave, and make sure to extinguish cigarettes completely. Give us a hand in the coming weeks as we reach peak fire season.”

For information on how to prepare for wildfire season, contact the Community Preparedness Specialist for the Kalispell Unit of the DNRC at 406-751-2270.

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The Lion Creek fire in western Montana.

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