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Fire Danger Very High In Missoula County

Jun 22, 2015
Fire danger sign

Missoula County interagency fire officials say fire danger is very high in Missoula County. Officials remind the public that burning by permit is closed and ask that people exercise caution with fire and anything that can produce sparks.

Neptune Aviation air tanker drops retardant on a fire
Steve Whitby/Neptune Aviation

A contract dispute has created uncertainty and potential lost revenue for the companies that supply firefighting air tankers, including Missoula’s Neptune Aviation.

The conflict is over long-term contracts for jet engine, so-called "next generation" planes that bring more to the table than the Korean War-era prop-driven tankers firefighters have been using for decades.

National Weather Service, Missoula

Fire danger is now high in Missoula County, one month earlier than last year.

Officials with the Missoula County Fire Protection Association say unseasonably warm temperatures, lack of rain and persistent winds have prompted them to go straight from a low fire danger rating to high starting just after midnight tonight.

A Neptune Aviation next-generation air tanker drops retardant on a fire
Jonah Curtin/Neptune Aviation

The U.S. Forest Service could have fewer firefighting air tankers than it originally planned for this fire season. The agency hoped to contract for up to seven more so-called "next generation" jet-powered firefighting air tankers. But two out-of-state air tanker companies filed protests over how the agency solicited aircraft contractors.

Forest Service Predicts Above-Average Fire Season For Western U.S.

Jun 9, 2015
File photo of fire fighters building fire line.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

The Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior and the U.S. Forest Service chief expect above average wildfire activity this year, especially across the Western U.S.

The three held a telephone briefing with reporters yesterday afternoon on the upcoming 2015 wildfire season.

Governor Steve Bullock announced today he’s committing $1.5 million of state fire suppression funds for various forest restoration and fuel reduction projects.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2.0)

Congressman Ryan Zinke says federal forests don't have a fire problem as much as they have a land management problem.

Zinke, Montana's lone Representative in the U.S. House, introduced a forest management reform bill this week.

The large fire at A1 Salvage yard near Somers is out, according to Somers-Lakeside Fire Department Assistant Chief Jeremy Hayes.

“We don’t have a total yet of how many cars were in the fire,” Hayes said, “but no structures were involved.”

The source of the fire is under investigation. 

U.S. National Interagency Fire Center

Montana's active wildfire season is just around the corner. Every single federal, state and local wildland firefighter assigned to fire duty is required to carry a fire shelter. They’re thin, silica-impregnated tents laminated with aluminum foil, and are proven lifesavers. Now, the Forest Service is working on making them even better.

Neptune Aviation air tanker drops retardant on a fire
Steve Whitby/Neptune Aviation

A Missoula aviation company is anxiously waiting to find out how many more of its air tankers will be dumping slurry on wildfires.

Flathead Area Fire Managers are predicting a "normal" fire season.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

A total of 35 wildfires ignited this weekend in south-central and southeastern Montana. Firefighters are battling the largest of them, a 3,000 acre wildfire, and preparing for more unfavorable conditions.