Fire danger for Missoula County has been increased from ‘low’ to ‘moderate’ by the Missoula County Fire Protection Association.

Spokesperson Kristen Mortensen provided details to KGVO News.

“Fire danger levels are informed by indices that fire professionals look at,” said Mortensen. “They measure your humidity, the moisture in fuels, and the drought index, and those indices advise fire professionals as to the level of potential danger from fire.”

Mortensen explained why Smoky Bear’s hand has moved from ‘low’ to ‘moderate’.

“Watching those indices help advise professionals on when to move up and our lowering fuel moistures,” she said. “Add the fact that we are also in a very hot spell with no precipitation in the immediate forecast, and that drying vegetation has all indicated that our fire danger is rising and we are currently at that moderate level.”

Mortensen said at this point, it looks like we may have a tough fire season.

“We do look at predictive weather patterns and they do suggest a drier than normal pattern,” she said. “That could definitely mean a tougher fire season. But to be honest, you never quite know exactly what Mother Nature is going to throw your way. So the best bet is to prepare for the worst as we always do going into any fire season.”

Mortensen said the standard rules apply for anyone who will be recreating in the next few weeks in Western Montana forests and campgrounds.

“The key is to watch your sparks,” she said. “Put out that campfire. Make sure you drown it. Stir it and drown it again and then feel it and don't leave it until it's cold. If you are doing any outdoor burning of debris, make sure you have a permit and make sure that it's activated for that day.”

Visit the Missoula County Fire Protection Association website, which contains contact information on how to obtain burning permits. The site also provides tips to help make your home ‘firewise’.


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