Bitterroot National Forest at ‘High’ Fire Danger … and Going Up
This week, the Bitterroot National Forest edged into "High" fire danger.
According to Joe Butsick of the Bitterroot Forest, the hot, dry weather is only going to get hotter and drier, sending the fire danger upwards. The next level is "Very High" and then "Extreme."
When the forest is at High levels, small fires can spread quickly into much larger fires, with extreme behavior such as fire whirls and long-distance spotting of flying embers.
Those small fires can start from an unattended campfire, which historically had not been a huge problem in the Bitterroot Valley. However, the incidence of human-caused fires has increased, with abandoned campfires being the main cause.
So far this year, six fires on the Bitterroot National Forest were human-caused and only five were caused by lightning.
We'll remind you again - Do not leave your campfire unattended. When you leave your campsite, make sure the campfire coals are cool to the touch ...especially those down in the middle of the campfire ring.