Heavy mountain snowpack and spring moisture have been good insurance against wildland fires in the Bitterroot. But July heat could change that.
With snow still visible in the Bitterroot Mountains, the Forest Service said the high country is holding "pretty good."
But at a meeting between commissioners, the Forest, Emergency and Weather Services, and the Hamilton Fire Department, NBC Montana learned what hot days ahead could bring.
"The conditions are going to change rapidly," said Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn, "especially on the valley floor, things are going to dry out and the potential for a grass fire will go up significantly.
The chief told the public they really need to be careful. "If you don't need to burn," he said, "don't burn."
Mohn said moisture has given grass a good growth spurt. But that grass is also fuel for fire.
Officials will give commissioners condition updates weekly.