It's an annual event that some in the Bitterroot Valley call "fencepost burning season."

Open burning season in Montana means that many people will burn the dead dry grass on their ditchbanks or entire fields to make way for fresh green growth in the warmer months.

However, springtime (when the burning is most prevalent) is also the time of unpredictable weather and wind gusts.

The result - runaway flames. Luckily for valley residents, the fire departments are equipped with what are called "brush rigs," which can quickly knock down a grass fire. And, response time is pretty good for a rural area.

But, the departments are all volunteer organizations, with firefighters taking time from their regular jobs or family time to answer the fire calls.

Again, we at KLYQ ask those who are considering open burning projects to make sure they pay attention to the weather forecasts and never burn in the afternoons, when the wind always kicks up.

Also, have plenty of water available and a few friends to help corral the flames.

Better yet, have a plan. Fire departments are happy to come out and give you advice before you light a match.

To the fire departments of Ravalli County - we appreciate your hard work this time of year and we thank you!