Montana's 42 State Parks may be in for a very dry summer, depending on the location.
"Our parks are withstanding the dry weather fairly well, but obviously fire danger has increased significantly in July and we already have fire restrictions in place in many counties," said Doug Monger, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks State Parks administrator. “Now is the time for people to obey all fire restrictions and do common sense things to help prevent fires in our parks and other public recreation areas.”
In counties where fire restrictions are in place, these restrictions apply to Montana State Parks and Fishing Access Sites, as well as to other public lands.
Monger recommends the following general precautions:
* In areas where fires aren't prohibited, fires should be built only in established fireplaces or fire rings. Fires must be attended at all times and completely extinguished when users leave the area. Water should be poured on black coals and the coals stirred to ensure no sparks or live embers remain.
* Pack in a pick, shovel, axe, bucket, extra water, and other supplies that would be useful in a fire or other emergency.
* Camp only in developed campgrounds.
* Park automobiles on improved gravel or dirt surfaces and avoid driving or parking on unimproved roads with high grass growing in the center of the tracks. Catalytic converters on many cars may cause very dry grasses to spark and catch fire.
* Don’t smoke in areas experiencing extreme dryness. Do not throw cigarette butts out the car window, even on improved roads, as this highly dangerous practice can lead to wild fires.
* Plan to pack out your own trash in remote areas, taking special care to remove all potentially flammable materials.
* Follow all FWP regulations and use-restrictions posted to safeguard natural resources.
For more information on how conditions are affecting the state’s fisheries and links to some of the state’s water resources, visit the FWP web page at fwp.state.mt.us and click on “Drought & Fire '03.”