Despite a wet, prolonged spring, fire season has snuck in the back door. Over the weekend, crews from Flathead National Forest contained a wildland fire in the Whitefish Range.
Approximately 20 fire personnel constructed a fire line and laid water hose on the Red Meadow 1 Wildland Fire – a suspected holdover from a lightning storm on July 1. A combination of little spot fires burned in a five-acre area south of the Red Meadow Road between Red Meadow Lake and the North Fork Road. “Lightning will hit, and you won’t see smoke until days later,” explained Denise Germann, spokesperson for the forest.
As of Sunday, the fire was contained and is now being monitored. Both Red Meadows Campground and the road remained opened.
While this may be the first lightning-caused fire of the season for Flathead National Forest, fire crews have already been busy. “We’ve had several starts,” said Germann. “We’re looking now at human caused fires.” Most have been abandoned campfires.
“It’s great to have a campfire, but have a small one. When you leave, put it out and make sure it’s dead out,” cautioned Germann.
The forest advocates practicing outdoor fire safety techniques, by keeping water and have a shovel handy when having a campfire and never leaving a fire unattended. “To put a fire out, drown it with water and mix it with dirt,” recommended Germann. “It should be cool to the touch with bare hand. Don’t bury embers as they can burn underground and come back to life.”
To follow fire restrictions during the summer, check www.firerestrictions.org.
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