MISSOULA, Mont. -

The fire danger in the Bitterroot National Forest has been moved from Moderate to High due to extremely hot and dry weather. The weather forecast is also calling for thunderstorms with frequent lightning today and Tuesday. Above normal temperatures, in the 90's, are expected beginning Wednesday through next weekend.

According to the Forest Service, high fire danger means all fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from just causes. Brush fires and campfire that are unattended are likely to escape. Fires will spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. Public Affairs Officer, Tom McKay said in press release that, "High intensity burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of fine fuel.  Fires may become serious and their control difficult, unless they are hit hard and fast while small."

Fire officials are asking asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and to remember that it is your job and responsibility to properly maintain and extinguish all campfires.