Frequent Human Caused Forest Fires Keep Missoula Stage One Restrictions in Place Despite Fire Danger Decline
The fire danger level in Missoula county and most of southwestern Montana has changed, however, stage one restrictions are still in place.
“We had a nice brief respite of rain last week,” said Missoula County Fire Protection Association spokesman Chris Johnson. “Some places on the forest got nearly three quarters of an inch of rain. That take our indices down from ‘Extreme’ to ‘Very High’.”
Despite the drop in fire danger, there are still stage one prohibitions on campfires and outdoor smoking. The reason for the extended stage one restrictions is human behavior.
“We still have stage one fire restrictions in effect, simply because even though the fire danger rating has gone down, we’re still experiencing a high number of human caused fires around the western Montana area,” Johnson said. “We implemented stage one restrictions last Thursday and between then and now we still continue to have unattended campfires.”
Since last Thursday, August 1, eight human caused fires have occurred because of campfires. Of those eight, six fires managed to escape from rock-ring fire pits that were not permitted under stage one restrictions.