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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Fire Danger 'High' In Missoula County

High fire danger sign.
U.S. Forest Service
Missoula County’s fire danger bumped up a notch Monday from "moderate" to "high." ";

Missoula County’s fire danger bumped up a notch Monday from "moderate" to "high."

A strong high pressure system has parked itself over Montana which will lead to some of the hottest, driest conditions seen so far this year. It’s already really hot and Montana’s forest fuels are getting dry and crunchy.

Despite the state’s generally heavy winter snowpack and cool, wet spring the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Jordan Koppen says, "that has depleted pretty quickly."

"Even with the moisture that we got, things grow, get really tall, and then dry out when we get these long periods of warm, hot and dry conditions," Koppen says.

Officials with the Missoula County Fire Protection Association Monday increased the local fire danger rating to "high." Other Montana communities may soon follow suit.

People are urged to be extremely careful with fire.
“Yes, big time. Please be super-careful with fireworks. Remember they’re not allowed on any forested federal or state lands," Koppen says.

Campfires need to be fully snuffed out and cold to the touch. Tow chains should be checked to ensure they’re not dragging and throwing sparks.

The seven to 10 day forecast for most of Montana calls for mostly to partly clear skies, highs in the mid to upper 90s and a few scattered thunderstorms.

Eastern Montana and western North Dakota received less than half their normal rainfall last month.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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