The following is a press release from the Bitterroot National Forest:
Fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest has been moved from Moderate to High as a result of the much warmer and dryer weather in the past few weeks. The Forest has received some recent lightning with only marginal rain showers.
To date, fire crews have responded to 2 human-caused fires and 3 lightning-caused fires. All fires have been extinguished except for the most recent lightning caused fire, the Took Ridge Fire, north of Painted Rocks Lake. The Took Ridge Fire was detected this past Tuesday evening around 6:30 p.m. by Lookout Mountain Lookout on the West Fork Ranger District. Two fire engines responded to the fire the first night. Wednesday, additional crews were sent and two helicopters provided extra support and water to the fire. The fire is presently contained at 1.5 acres and 15 firefighters continue working to put it out.
Fire prevention personnel have found several abandoned campfires on their patrols over the past few weeks. With the increased fire danger, the public is cautioned to make sure that if they build a campfire while enjoying the Forest, to please make sure their fire is dead out before leaving.
Here are some guidelines to follow when you're ready to put out your fire:
1. Allow the wood to burn completely to ash, if possible
2. Pour lots of water on the fire; drown ALL embers, not just the red ones
3. Pour until hissing sound stops
4. Stir the campfire ashes and embers with a shovel
5. Scrape the sticks and logs to remove any embers
6. Stir and make sure everything is wet and they are cold to the touch
7. If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough dirt or sand with the embers.
Continue adding and stirring until all material is cool.
Remember: do NOT bury the fire as the fire will continue to smolder and could catch roots on fire that will eventually get to the surface and start a wildfire.