The following is a news release from Missoula fire:
Interagency wildland fire officials with the Missoula County Fire Protection Association (MCFPA) have determined fire danger within Missoula County to be VERY HIGH, a downgrade from EXTREME conditions that have persisted for the last three weeks.
Recent days have seen lower temperatures and higher relative humidity levels during the heat of the day. Current weather patterns are bringing moisture to the area at a time when days are getting shorter. These conditions can bring much needed relief to firefighters and allow them to get a leg up on the hard work of putting fires out.
Today's announcement does not signal an end to fire season. Until we get wide-spread wetting rains, conditions will persist under which wind-driven fires will quickly spread. Residents along Duncan Drive last Friday bore witness to that fact. Were it not for a rapid, interagency response and the availability of air resources, homes could have been lost. The cause of that fire was determined to be a lightning-struck power pole.
Wildland fire agencies continue to respond to human-caused fires, and Stage I fire restrictions are still in effect over much of the west central Montana area; they will be rescinded when widespread wetting rains reach the area. Because wilderness areas are exempt from Stage I orders this year, campfires are allowed in their boundaries. Bow hunters and campers need to make sure their warming fires are cold to the touch and dead-out before left unattended.