Last weekend, Bitterroot National Forest firefighters discovered two abandoned campfires that were left burning.

The unattended campfires were still hot enough to flare up with a little wind. The firefighters, on routine patrol, put the fires out.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said that makes five reported abandoned campfires this year that have been discovered and been put out. He said the firefighters have enough to do with over 20 lightning caused fires so far, without adding human-caused fires to the mix.

He said that the forest is drying out with the high temperatures and low humidity. Campfires that are left smoldering can easily escape the firepit and spread to surrounding grass or pine needles.

Tips for those who start campfires in the woods:

  • Pour lots of water on the fire, drown ALL embers, not just the red ones.
  • Pour water until the hissing sounds stop.
  • Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
  • Make sure everything is wet and cold to the touch.
  • If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.