Fire Season in and Around Missoula is Surprisingly Calm – For Now
This time last year, fire were sweeping the Treasure State. What's with the sudden change in smokeless air and lack of forest fires? Lolo National Forest Spokesman Boyd Hartwig said that this year's fire season has been much easier than last year:
"Last year at this time, we had already had a fairly significant series of risky fires and West Mullan was probably the biggest one," Hartwig said. "Out by Superior, that was a fire that was very challenging and caused evacuations. Last year was busy for us. You know, you never know what might happen, but yeah, compared to last year, we're in a better spot."
Even though no big fires have sparked in the Lolo National Forest, just this week, fire crews were called to put out a small blaze started by a campfire close to Missoula.
"We had an abandoned campfire up Blue Mountain right off of the main road on what we call the 'sledding hill' up there," Hartwig said. "So that's always a concern to us. If you have an abandoned campfire anywhere on the forest in a location like that so close to people's homes, that a real concern to us."
Hartwig said that although things are looking good so far, August is traditionally the heart of fire season for western Montana.