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Western Montana Spring Smoke Season Starts

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Smoke from a controlled burn west of Missoula. (KLYQ Photo)

This is the time of year that the local National Forest and BLM crews conduct control burns.

Much like the column of smoke put up by the forest burn in the Blue Mountain area west of Missoula Wednesday, the fires burn hot for an hour or two, but then begin to die down, as the material burns up, usually piled in one general area of the forest.

The US Forest Service has a regular schedule of the such burns and the main reason is to prevent more serious forest fires during the usual summer fire season. The weather plays a major role in setting off the blazes. The smoke dispersion has become more important over the years, along with the amount of moisture in the material.

Of course, in the Bitterroot Valley, private landowners are also burning overgrown weeds along fencelines and ditchbanks. A few even burn fields of dry grass. KLYQ reminds you to have a plan for your spring burning project, check the weather forecast, have plenty of water, and plenty of friends to help.

And, remember that in springtime, almost every afternoon around here, you can expect the wind to kick up. And the only cure for that fire is to call 9-1-1 and get the fire department.

Our volunteer departments do an amazing job and often save the day, but please try to be smart in your spring burning project.

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