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Missoula Shifts to ‘Very High’ Fire Danger as Spring Rains Evaporate

Fire Danger "Very High"
Photo by: Helen H. Richardson/ Getty Images

Despite a ton of precipitation pouring into western Montana during winter and spring, Missoula County Fire Protection Association spokesman Jordan Koppen says the area has finally dried up.

“The grasses and fuels are curing out,” Koppen said. “You can see Mount Sentinel up there, it’s turning a reddish color. It’s in the higher elevations too, I was just up on Stirrup Peak and everything is dry up there, there’s no more snow fields… yeah, we got a lot of moisture in the spring, but with all of the hot and dry days that we’ve had, everything has dried out.”

Missoula County’s Fire Danger level was raised to “Very High” on Monday, but Koppen says that there aren’t any new restrictions… yet.

“As of now, we are holding off on those restrictions,” Koppen said. “We take into account all the different factors it would take to go into restrictions and part of that is the human caused factor. So far we haven’t had too much for human-caused fires, we occasionally get the abandoned camp fire, or a car parked in dry grass, e.t.c, but we haven’t had too much of that and we are trying to keep that going.”

In a typical fire season, there is usually one human caused fire for every naturally occurring fire, but the odds are a bit better so far this season.

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