Abandoned Campfires in Bitterroot Becoming a Problem
In the Bitterroot National Forest last week, two forest fires were caused by abandoned campfires. The fires were stopped before they became large, but Fire Management Officer Mark Wilson said forest crews also noted other campfires that were still burning after people had left their campsites.
"This past week we’ve picked up two additional fires that got outside the campfire rings from abandoned campfires and I think it was two or three others that were still within in the rings that were abandoned also." He reminded forest users, "Even when you’re still set up at a camp, fires need to be attended. Otherwise, they need to be extinguished. If you go out for the day, you need to put the fire out so it doesn’t creep out or escape while you’re gone. Some water and a little stirring can go a long ways."
Fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest and other area forests is nearing the "Very High" level, which means the dry, hot conditions can easily cause a small fire to quickly become a large fire. Wilson also said a quick-moving thunderstorm last week caused a number of small fires on both sides of the Bitterroot Valley, and all were extinguished. He said there still could be some "hold over" smoldering lighting-caused fires that might pop up this week.