Outdoors

Let’s Keep the Flathead Fire Safe

Fire safety tips

Caution: Do not try to burn toilet paper in the woods in July. Exactly why I was burning toilet paper on a recent camping trip is not important. Just don’t do it – trust me, it could have some serious consequences.

Due to the very dry conditions of Northwest Montana, firefighters have responded to numerous human-caused fires. In order to keep the area safe and free from the damaging flames, fire managers with the Flathead and Kootenai National Forests, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Glacier National Park, and Flathead, Lincoln, Lake and Sanders Counties, are asking Northwest Montana residents and visitors to use caution in all activities that have the potential to ignite a fire.

While fire restrictions are not in place in Northwest Montana, continued hot temperatures and lack of moisture could prompt such restrictions in the near future, according to a press release from Willie Sykes of the Kootenai National Forest.

Sykes offers the following fire safety tips:

-Build safe campfires by keeping them small and contained. Never leave your fire unattended, and make sure it is DEAD OUT before you leave it. State law requires that anyone lighting a campfire must have a bucket and shovel handy.

-Use equipment that has a properly functioning spark arrester. All types of equipment and vehicles are required to have spark arresters, including chainsaws, portable generators, cross-country vehicles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and farm equipment.

-When smoking is permitted, safe practices include a 3-foot clearing around the smoker, a fully extinguished cigarette or cigar prior to disposal, and use of an appropriate container for disposal.

-Check burn piles from the spring and earlier this year. Many of these burns are able to carry fire over several weeks and should be inspected regularly.

And before you start to light that piece of toilet paper on fire, next time think twice! You can always carry plastic baggies, and dispose of the tissue when you get home.

Happy camping ☺