Continued hot and dry conditions have prompted Missoula County fire protection agencies to raise the fire danger in the Missoula area to "extreme”. DNRC Community Preparedness & Fire Prevention Specialist Kristin Mortenson explains. 

“The fire protection agencies in Missoula County have looked at a number of our fuel indices, the weather conditions, and the risk,” Mortenson said. “They used their local knowledge of the area and decided it is definitely time to move our fire danger up to “extreme”. That is the last category. We can’t move up beyond here.” 

Because we are now in “extreme” fire danger, Mortenson said all residents and visitors need to be extra cautious. 

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“We just need to be extra careful with any sparks that we are creating out in our public lands and in our own backyards,” Mortenson said. “Watch those campfires. Make sure that when we are finished with them, we drown, stir, drown, and feel. Do not leave them until they are dead out and cold to the touch.” 

So far this season, there hasn’t been a major wildfire in Missoula County. However, according to Mortenson, the risk has been there. 

“We have been able to attack all the fire starts that have occurred,” Mortenson said. “There have been close calls, but we have had the resources to be able to respond quickly. With “extreme” fire danger, it makes a direct attack almost impossible on a fire. Once that spark goes, that fire is moving extremely quickly and is very hard to attack and contain.” 

Mortenson said implementing area fire restrictions is being discussed, but there are currently no fire restrictions in place in Missoula County. 

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