Open burning season is underway, however residents are urged to use greater caution after two fires got away from homeowners in the past two weeks.

Frenchtown Rural Fire spokesman Mel Holtz said described the two fires that got away from homeowners and necessitated professional firefighters to extinguish the blazes.

“Lat week and the week prior we responded to a six and a half acre fire and the week prior we responded to an 18 acre fire,” said Holtz. “Last week we ended up responding to that six and a half acre fire and because it was threatening some homes we had to pull our ambulance crew off and have them respond to that fire and that  left our district without ambulance coverage for a short time until Missoula Emergency Services to come out and help us with response.”

Holtz said the fire was located in the area of the Wye, near the old Stone Container plant.

He reminded homeowners that even though open burning is allowed, a permit is required and to be cognizant of weather conditions in the area, especially strong winds that can cause a fire to go out of control.

“Make sure you have a shovel and other lawn-type tools to help you put out a fire, and of course, have water and a garden hose and to have the appropriate number of people on hand to help control the fire,” he said. “And, if things go wrong, have a phone handy to contact 9-1-1, earlier rather than later.”