Open Burning Ends for Missoula County, Fire Danger Raised to Moderate
Taking into account the recent heatwave, The Missoula County Fire Protection Association is announcing the end of open burning in Missoula County.
The open burning season will end right after midnight July 2, this pertains to permit-only burning such as slash, vegetation disposal and agricultural burning. Those who wish to build campfire pits of two feet in diameter or build cooking fires are still permitted to do so.
Another major change is the increase in fire danger from low to moderate, which takes place immediately, July 1.
"There's several things that go into that," said Chris Johnson of the Missoula County Fire Prevention Association. "Primarily we look at our indices: at how dry it is, the forecast for unseasonably high temperatures, and just an increase in fire behavior. We've also got a lot of firefighters that have left Montana to fight fires around the inter-mountain west. We don't expect any lightning today or tomorrow, but certainly fire danger is about to ramp up for the season."
Fire danger levels play a big role in determining how many firefighting personnel remain in Montana.
"When we are in low or moderate conditions here, we let those firefighters go to fight fires where they're needed, in places that are in high or extreme fire danger, "Johnson said. "I can only speak for the Lolo National Forest that I work for, we have approximately 50 or 60 firefighters and approximately 40 percent of our workforce that are just hired as firefighters are out right now."