Hot and extremely dry weather has led the Missoula County Fire Protection Association to increase the fire danger from ‘ very high’ to ‘extreme’.

Spokesperson Kristin Mortenson broke the news to KGVO early Monday afternoon.

“The Missoula County Fire Protection Association has decided to increase our fire danger to extreme due to the hot dry conditions and the lack of precipitation that is forecasted in our area,” said Mortenson.

Mortenson detailed the steps taken to change the fire danger level.

“It's an analysis of the moisture that's in the fuels, the weather that is predicted and that has occurred, and also the resources that are available to address our fire situation,” she said. “So, it’s a matter of analyzing the risk there.”

Mortenson said all the numbers fell into line to raise the fire danger level to extreme.

“All of our indices indicate our fuel moistures and the fire behavior likely have all shown that we are at or very close to extreme fire danger level,” she said.

Mortenson said the fire danger level has little to do with the fires burning west of Missoula in Idaho and on the Lolo National Forest.

“The fire danger relates to just our area,” she said. “So, it isn't related to the fact that Idaho has a lot of fires, other than the regional amount of fires does affect the number of resources that are available to address our fires. So that's a part of the consideration. But really fire danger is just related to our conditions here locally.”

In addition, the Bitterroot National Forest also raised its fire danger level to ‘extreme’.


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