Everyone has heard that large portions of Montana are in severe drought, but The chief of fire and aviation for Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Ted Mead says the total number of acres burned by fire this year is actually down.

"Given where we are at in the year, were a little bit ahead on number of fires," Mead said. "I was just looking at our statistics, we are 30 percent ahead of where we normally are. We've got about just under 200 fires reported as of a few days ago that we've been involved with. But our acres burned is down, averages for acreages burned is because this is such a variable business it’s kind of a hard measure but were about 25 percent of ten year average of acres burned."

Mead says there are a few strategic decisions that might explain why the number of acres burned is down despite the increase in fire starts.

"It's successful on a lot of initial attack." Mead said. "We've actually prepositioned equipment some engines, we've given some of our folks some extra hours so they are covering their shift a little longer in the day and that's helped us on some fires that break out later in the day. And then, we have also put on a few pieces of equipment and those types of things on standby."

Despite the good news so far, Mead says august is typically one of the worst months for fire danger and a lot can happen before summer ends.