More fires sprout up in Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest

Posted at 5:21 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 20:32:08-05

HELENA — Fire season is unfortunately not over. Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest has seen eight new fires pop up within the last two weeks and at least six of those were human-caused. Forest officials are asking the public to think twice before starting a fire considering the windy and dry conditions of late.

The length and severity of the fire season were highlighted Wednesday by destructive fires in Denton and Great Falls. These fires remain under investigation and are separate from the fires the forest service responded to. But they show how fast and dangerous wildfire can be even outside of the traditional fire season.

“Helena beat its record by 10 degrees, so this is truly a fire year, no longer a fire season contained, you know, by the end of October,” says spokesperson for the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest, Chiara Cipriano.

A major concern is preventable fires like a campfire that appeared to not be properly extinguished that had to be tended to by Meagher County and White Sulphur Springs City Fire.

“We base our fire seasons on, you know, kind of an expected end date of October, and so, you know, our fire personnel are very fatigued at this point in the year responding to all of these human-caused fires,” says Cipriano.

And two fires in the forest remain a concern: The Lime Gulch Fire west of Augusta, and The Antelope Creek Fire northwest of Harlowton.

Fire personnel are staffed to current fires and are checking on smaller fires to make sure no reignition occurs.

The Forest Service urges folks who are planning to make a fire to have the tools to put it out for good when they’re done. That includes using a shovel and water to drench all embers and coals until they are cool to the touch.