Watch your step! It's yet another consequence of these hot, dry, smoky conditions we're dealing with in western Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is receiving more reports of rattlesnakes in the Missoula Valley. We appreciate them passing along safety tips to homeowners and outdoor recreation folks.

The rattlers are searching for cooler, moister areas in conditions like we're experiencing. And that extends to them finding gardens and yards and of course, food sources. Keep your grass mowed, make sure rock and wood piles are stacked away from your house and block off areas under porches and sheds. Watch where you step, and if you're out hiking in tall grass, use a long stick to sweep the areas ahead of you.

Naturally you want to consider your beloved four-legged buddies, too. Rattlesnake vaccine is available for dogs through local veterinarians. Bites are rarely fatal to humans, but immediate medical attention is the smart thing to do.

Stay safe. Breath well. And if you hear a rattling noise....well, you know.

DB