Drought & Fire - Region 7
Monday, August 15, 2011
The 2011 fall hunting season is just a few weeks away and the early archery-hunting season began in mid-August. Landowners and land management agencies are concerned, as more folks will be out in the countryside. The fire danger is moderate to high and hunters should take precautions against starting a prairie fire. During the fall the chance of starting a fire is a serious concern to landowners, land management agencies and recreationists. Using common sense and taking a few simple steps to minimize the danger of a fire start while we use the prairie can save everyone a lot of time, effort and expense. Human caused fires can and should be avoided.
The landscape across Montana can be dry with a heavy fuel load of grass from spring and summer moisture. We all need to do our part in the prevention of wildland fires by using common sense and being prepared.
Following some simple common sense guidelines will reduce the chance of a human caused fire start:
- When you park your vehicle make sure no fuel (dry grass) is touching the catalytic converter or exhaust system. Find a bare spot along the roadside to park. Park your vehicle in an acceptable area. Don’t block the flow of traffic.
- Carry fire suppression equipment in your vehicle. Water and a shovel are probably minimum requirements. Having a fire extinguisher is a plus.
- When requesting permission to hunt, it might be a good idea to discuss the fire threat with the landowner so he/she knows you are aware of the problem and will act accordingly. You may be required to park your vehicle and walk.
- It’s important to find out the fire restrictions that apply to the location you intend to hunt or camp. That information is readily available by calling the local land management agencies, county commissioners or the local fire department.
- Common sense tells us not to drive off-road when conditions are dry.
- Any county that has instituted Stage 1 fire restrictions prohibites any open fire that cannot be turned on and off, such as with propane fueled stove.
Using common sense will help ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience this fall for you and the landowners. Everyone appreciates a safe and fire-free fall hunting experience.
For updates on restrictions in effect in Montana, visit the Federal Fire Restrictions and click on the Northern Rockies map.