Wildfire Season 2014 Approaches - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Wildfire Season 2014 Approaches

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With smoke moving into the Missoula Valley, and fire danger in area forests moving up to "high," the 2014 wildfire season is just about here.

"It’s pretty hot and dry as you can see from the last week and a half or so. We've had a lot of it and dry weather heading up to the mid-90's and 100's," said Jordan Koppen with Montana DNRC.

Montana DNRC officials are urging you to use extreme caution while recreating in Montana forests, as the weather only gets drier and warmer.

"We've had consistent hot and dry days. The grasses and shrubs are starting to cure, causing higher fire potential," Koppen said.

After dealing with long fire seasons in recent years, Montana forest officials are starting to prepare for the season ahead of time.

The Bitterroot National Forest already moved to high fire danger this morning, with other Southwestern forests to follow on Tuesday, meaning fast-moving flames could easily be ignited.

"We're seeing longer and longer wildfire seasons these days, and when you have more wildfires you have more smoke," said Missoula air quality specialist, Sarah Coefield.

Air quality specialists are also urging people to get ready for the smoke.

"The most important thing during wildfire event is to pay attention to how you responding to the smoke. Really be cautious and listen to you bodies response," Coefield said.

With smoke from fires out of state already making its way into town, a forum was held on Monday to let the community know how to deal with the smoke.

"Your best strategy during a wildfire is going to be to cut back on the amount of exposure. We have don't go on our run if it’s smoky outside," Coefield said.

Overall, we're already starting to experience a dry, hot and smoky season, and experts say the best thing you can do is be prepared.

To find information on how you can prepare for the wildfire season head to the Montana DNRC.

For those who live in the area of last year's Lolo Complex Fire, an informational public discussion is set for tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at the Lolo Community Center to get ready for this year's fire activity.

 

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