Missoula Rural Fire Department Battalion Chief Dan Merritt says the warmer weather has kept his department busy the past few weeks as people lose control of their controlled burns.

“That varies depending on the weather and how nice it is,” said Merritt. “Folks that are burning out there, it is hasn’t been too awful bad, but we’re probably running on average a call a shift for a fire that got away. 24 hours is the typical shift.”

According to Merritt, wind this time of year plays a large role in fires getting out of hand.

“Things are just starting to warm up,” Merritt said. “Light fuels and dead fuels tend to cause a little bit of fire. We typically get some winds in the afternoons and mixed winds this time of year have the potential to cause the fire to get away.”

Merritt says they are responding to a majority of their calls in the afternoons, especially on the weekends.

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