Fire officials with the Missoula County Fire Prevention Association have increased the fire danger level to high, and continued the policy that debris burning is no long allowed.

Fire Prevention Specialist with the Department of natural Resources and Conservation, Jordan Koppen made the announcement on Monday morning.

“We are changing our signs in Missoula County from ‘moderate’ to ‘high’ fire danger,” said Koppen. “We’re asking the public to be really careful with ignition sources and douse your campfires. The debris burning season has been closed, but a lot of people don’t seem to know that, and for those who have recently burned debris, please go and check the pile to make sure it’s completely out.

Koppen addressed the issue of properly extinguishing a campfire.

“Even though the fire may be inside a ring or in an area that is not heavily forested, there are still a lot of light, dry grasses that can catch fire and spread rapidly,” he said. “Please make sure that they’re cold to the touch and that they’re completely dead out. In addition, if you’re towing a trailer or a camper, please make sure all your chains are up off the ground because a few sparks from a chain on the concrete can ignite a roadside fire that can also spread rapidly.”

Koppen said due to the heavy lightning in western Montana over the weekend there could be holdovers despite the heavy rain that accompanied the storms.

“Remember, if you see something, say something,” he said. We’ll definitely be monitoring the entire area with aircraft, our fire lookouts and our firefighters, especially on the west side of the Lolo National Forest where they didn’t get as much rain as they did around the Seeley lake area.”

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