Fire danger has increased from low to moderate in the Flathead Valley following a string of high temperatures and low moisture that have dried fuels in the outdoors, according to state forest managers.
This past Fourth of July weekend brought the first high temperatures of the summer and more of the same is forecasted for this week. While the Flathead Valley received ample rain in June and grass is still green, forest fuels are drying quickly and are actively burning when exposed to ignition sources such as fireworks or lightning.
Firefighters with the Kalispell Unit of the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation responded to eight fires over the holiday weekend. Half of the fires were started by lightning, while half were started by fireworks or dragging trailer chains, according to the DNRC.
A few reminders from the DNRC:
— Now that summer is here, many people are out camping and enjoying the forests of Montana. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is cold to the touch before leaving your campsite.
— Adjust trailer safety chains so they are not dragging. Dragging chains send sparks that can easily start grass fires along roadsides.
— Debris burning is not permitted during the months of July, August and September. Open burning will resume again in October as conditions allow.
For more information contact the fire prevention specialist for the Kalispell Unit of the DNRC at 751-2270.
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