National fire preparedness level increases ahead of wildfire season
The growing national risk of wildfires prompted experts this week to ratchet up the alert system for firefighting resources.
It’s a subtle acknowledgment that Montana’s regular wildland fire season is just around the corner.
The nation’s fire preparedness increased Monday one notch to Level 2.
The National Interagency Fire Center’s Preparedness Levels range from the lowest, a 1, to the highest, at a 5. The higher the number, the stronger the demand for firefighting management teams and resources.
“If you look at last year, we went into PL2 on April 1, so we're a few days earlier than last year, but I mean, that's an indicator. Last year was a pretty busy year,” NIFC spokesperson Carrie Bilbao says.
Wildfire activity is picking up across the country’s southern tier, increasing competition for firefighting resources.
Bilbao encourages residents of drought-impacted western states, like Montana, to even now be careful with fire when recreating. She also advises people to prepare their homes and properties for wildfire risks.