Monday Lightning Storm Sparks Two Small Missoula-Area Fires [AUDIO]
The Western Montana sky exploded with lightning strikes and brief, heavy rains starting at about 6:00 a.m. Monday, as a summer storm swept through the Bitterroot, Missoula, and the Blackfoot areas. The lightning sparked at least two small fires.
Department of Natural Resources Fire Prevention Coordinator Cindy Super said on Monday afternoon that the two small fires were called in to 9-1-1.
"I know for sure that the DNRC protection here around the Missoula area, we got two small fires for certain out of that storm, and they were both caught and handled quickly" Super said. "After the storms pass later this afternoon, we'll have an aerial detection flight through the main path of the lightning to see if we can pick up any more fire starts."
Super said the two small fires were in the Bitterroot and the Blackfoot areas.
"One was out by Florence, and the other was in the Blackfoot, near the Clearwater area," Super said. "Typically, we can get to those small fire locations via truck to get you close, and then we can hike in. If its real remote, we might call some jumpers, we've done that on state fires in the past. We do have a helicopter at our disposal, but we didn't have to use that resource today."
Super said her agency depends on people calling in sightings of smoke after a lightning storm like the one that passed through Western Montana on Monday,
"If you do see some smoke, just get a clear idea of where the smoke is coming from, and let us know where you're calling from, as well," Super said. "Maybe we can even come and stand in your back yard and look at it, as well. The best thing, though, is to call 9-1-1 right away, and that's what people did this morning. Also, quite a few of the lookout stations are staffed right now, and that's another option."
Super added some basic fire prevention tips as official wildfire season gets underway.
"People just need to be careful, make sure their campfires are out, and keep having a great summer," Super said.
Department of Natural Resources Fire Prevention Coordinator Cindy Super