Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County Fire Protection Association has officially raised the fire danger to ‘high’ for the Missoula area.

KGVO News spoke to Max Rebholtz, Wildfire Preparedness Coordinator for the MCFPA about the announcement that was made official on Monday morning.

Wildfire Danger Raised to 'High" for Missoula County

“Due to the increase in temperatures and the weather outlook, and the fact that vegetation is drying out more, fire protection agencies that are members of the Missoula County Fire Protection Association met on Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.,” began Rebholtz. “Looking at different data sets that measure the different moisture content within vegetation, and that data indicated that our indices state that we need to move to high fire danger and alert the public of that move.”

Rebholtz said no campfires are currently allowed within the Missoula city limits, but had this information for those who will be recreating within the Missoula County area.

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Those Recreating in the Area are Asked to be Extra Careful with Fire

“There is a reminder for people to use establish fire rings,” he said. “That includes making sure that when you leave the fire that it's cool to the touch. Do that by drowning the fire then stirring the embers until they are cold and then drown the embers again. It’s a good idea to carry a shovel and buckets of water or jugs of water with you. In addition,  recreational fires are still illegal within Missoula city limits.”

As the weather turns hotter, Missoula County residents will still be mowing their lawns and Rebholtz had these tips to keep from starting a fire while mowing.

“But the big one is the mower blades hitting rocks can cause a spark, and that spark can ignite that dry grass,” he said. “Just be sure that the mower blades are set to a higher setting to alleviate that risk of causing that spark. And then storing the mower in an area that's is in a non-combustible area, usually on pavement or in during the garage and not just like storing the mower out in the dry grass.”

All Outdoor Burning is Now Prohibited According to the MCFPA

Rebholtz said outdoor burning has already been prohibited by all Missoula County agencies.

“Outdoor burning in Missoula County has closed,” he said. “It's been closed for about a week now. So all burn permits are invalid. If people want to check on current fire restrictions or fire info or other kinds of fire prevention and home wildfire preparedness tips, people should go to this website.

On average, three out of every four wildfires in Missoula County are human-caused.

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