Campers forego fires during record-breaking heat wave


MISSOULA, Mont. - With temperatures reaching into the 90s and fire danger climbing we decided to check in with area campgrounds to find out if they're allowing campfires.

NBC Montana talked to Tom Mahlum, the owner of Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park outside of Missoula.  He tells us he follows county burning guidelines – if Missoula County allows campfires, then so does Mahlum. 

Mahlum tells us with a heat wave lingering over western Montana most campers decide to ditch the fire pit and go swimming instead.

"The probability of them having a campfire over the last couple days and the next couple of days will be pretty slim because of the temperature," said Mahlum. 

We talked to campers to find out if they were planning to have a campfire over the holiday weekend.

"With the weather and the condition the forests are in it's just not a wise thing to do," said avid camper Michael Hoger.  "The west is on fire right now and you don't want to be a contributing factor to it because you walk away for a minute and that minute is when a spark will fly and catch the forest on fire." 

Hoger's wife, Jan, says she can live without making s'mores over an open fire. 

"It's way too windy and we don't want to start the place on fire, so that's why we're not going to have a campfire," said Jan Hoger. 

As for Mahlum, he says they will take extra precautions on the Fourth of July. 

"With fireworks tomorrow night right around the corner, we are very cautious on any extra fire activity in our park," he said.

For campfire safety tips, click here.

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