Wildland Fire Danger

The rains have stopped and we are in wildland fire season in Montana.   Many of the places I traveled last week it was either very high or extreme fire danger.    In my job traveling around doing work on range and grasslands I am acutely aware of how dry the grasses all are.   I am seeing the Smokey Bear signs all over with the warning of the local fire danger.   I am seeing scorched earth from grass fires along roadways.    So far we have been lucky with fire season in Montana, but that can change in a second.

In Lincoln county the pine trees may look green but they are under stress from the lack of moisture.

In Lincoln county the pine trees may look green but they are under stress from the lack of moisture.

When stopping at a survey site I look to see if their is a sufficient shoulder or a  paved pull out I can park on.  Just this week my boss advised if we are on gravel roads with low traffic and good sight lines to consider just pulling to the far right side of the road and turning on your flashers when you jump out to do your survey.   I know for myself each time I get out of the truck before I leave to do the survey, I take a peek under my truck to see just what might be touching the before I leave.   With dry grasses and the ever blowing winds I don’t want to be part of wildland fire, especially the source.

Always checking to make sure my truck isn't touching dry grasses.

Always checking to make sure my truck isn’t touching dry grasses.

An Update: I was traveling through several counties and they all were mowing right of ways to get rid of fuel that might catch easily.   All the mowers were being followed by water tankers in case they started a fire.   Counties here are going to great extremes to reduce the fire danger.   Most of our fire departments are made up of local citizens who volunteer to be part of the local fire protection district.

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