Significant precipitation continues to elude most of Montana.

DNRC has extended the state’s official wildfire season due to persistent warm, dry weather and continued new fire starts, both from lighting and human activities. DNRC Director Mary Sexton and Forestry Division Administrator Bob Harrington both signed the proclamation extending the fire season indefinitely.

The extension allows the continuation of wildfire restrictions on classified forest lands in the state, and requirements for burning permits from the recognized fire protection agency for all open burning in the state.

“The fire danger has actually worsened from last week,” noted Director Sexton, whose agency provides fire protection in much of western Montana and fire suppression assistance to counties throughout the state. “We’re responding to new human-caused wildfires and we still have some larger fires, such as Sawtooth, Condon Mountain, and the Millie Fire, which are going to be with us until winter.”

Over the weekend, firefighters around the state responded to numerous fire starts, many of them human-caused, including the Wilson Fire southeast of Roundup, which is 4,100 acres and the Eagle Creek Fire 13 miles southwest of Lame Deer on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, which has charred more than 3,000 acres.

The resolution extending the fire season is open-ended, with the end to be determined after a change in the weather significant to reduce the fire risk. “For much of Montana, it’s going to take substantial rain or snow before we can safely allow people to conduct open burning or build campfires in undesignated areas,” Harrington said.

The public is encouraged to continue to comply with local fire restrictions, taking extreme caution with off-road vehicle use, field use of cutting torches or welding equipment, camp fires, or any other activities that could potentially start a wildfire. They should contact their local fire department or DNRC office if they have further questions.

Logo courtesy Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

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