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

Forest Service raises Bitterroot National Forest fire danger to 'moderate'

The likelihood of accidental fires on public lands is increasing with summer temperatures, according to officials with the U.S. Forest Service who, this week, raised the fire danger in the Bitterroot Forest from “low” to “moderate.”

 A sign for the Bitterroot National Forest.
A sign for the Bitterroot National Forest.

Fire Prevention Specialist Anna Bateson with the Forest Service says a cool, wet spring nurtured growth of “fine” fuels like grasses and pine needles.

“So, as soon as that dries out, that is going to be ready to go for wildfire,” Bateson says.

Under the “moderate” danger designation, officials say fires can start from most accidental causes, though the number of fires typically remains low. Bateson says recreators should be sure to thoroughly douse any campfires with water and avoid parking campers and trailers on dry grasses ahead of the July Fourth weekend.

“Another reminder, as far as Fourth of July: Fireworks are illegal on all public lands,” Bateson says.

Bateson says Montanans can head to www.mtfireinfo.org for updates on the latest fires and fire risks.

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