Fire Season Gearing Up

Written by on July 29, 2019

Several small wildfires in western Montana and a changing weather pattern have signaled the beginning of the 2019 wildfire season.

John Monzie, deputy chief of the Fire Bureau in the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, told the Billings Gazette the fire season is starting later this summer compared to recent years because of cooler temperatures and more moisture in July.

A lightning-caused fire on the Flathead Indian Reservation southwest of Ronan has burned about three quarters of a square mile of grass and timber in difficult terrain. Three other lightning-caused fires that started on the reservation Tuesday night were extinguished.

In southwestern Montana, crews are fighting a small fire a mile south of the historic ghost town of Bannack; and just north of Missoula, another small fire in the Lolo National Forest has led to the closure of several trails.

The Crow Agency issued a press release Friday regarding several fires in that region, including the 2-acre War Man lightning fire above Fort Smith which started Wednesday. Lightning in the Pryors lit the 0.3 acre Indian Springs fire on Sage Creek Tuesday. And back on July 11, lightning burned 4 acres east of Wyola at Bear Creek.

Last week, Crow firefighters also controlled small human-caused fires near Pryor, Crow Agency, and Hardin.

Fire dangers are reported to be Very High in grass areas such as Little Big Horn Battlefield, Soda Springs near Billings, and even grass atop the Pryor Mountains.


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