Kalispell, MT Sept. 11, 2020 – Going into early fall, fuels are very dry and susceptible to rapid fire spread once ignited. In the last week, the Forest has responded to three human-caused starts. Throughout the northwest zone, thirteen new human-caused fire starts occurred in the last week. The forecast is for continued warm and dry conditions.
Currently, critical resource shortages exist because most firefighting resources nationally are assigned to the many large fires burning in California, Oregon, and Washington. Additionally, many local firefighters are assigned to fires currently threatening communities and other values at risk throughout Montana and Idaho.
Approximately 80% of wildfires are human-caused and are therefore preventable. Interagency fire managers ask the public to remain careful and smart when out recreating this fall. “It’s important for everyone locally to do their part to prevent human-caused fire starts,” said acting Flathead National Forest Fire Management Officer Andy Huntsberger. “We need every resource available to help out our neighbors, and the more we can do to limit our local fire response, the better.”
People headed into forested areas including Continental Divide Trail hikers should also monitor InciWeb for trail and area closures, including Flathead National Forest fires Drumming, Garnet, and Lion Creek currently burning in remote areas. Some fires in other parts of the state have also necessitated some closures and trail reroutes for recreationists.
With overnight low temperatures dipping into the 40s, campers should ensure they have enough water to completely drown campfires. Typically, it takes several gallons of water to completely put out a fire. Check to ensure trailer chains are not dragging as they can throw sparks and ignite dry roadside grasses. Smoke only in areas free of leaves, twigs, and other forest fuels.