The Hill County government has warned of high fire danger in the region — along with much of the state — and is urging people to use extreme caution when out in the open.
The National Weather Service has posted a “Red Flag Warning” in most counties east of the Continental Divide, including Hill, Blaine, Chouteau and Liberty counties.
The Weather Service issues Red Flag Warnings in areas experiencing weather leading to extreme burning conditions. In north-central, central and eastern Montana, it reports humidity as low as 15 percent, winds from 20 mph to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph and high temperatures leading to the warning, in effect through 9 p.m. today.
In a release from the Hill County Commission, people are asked to use precautions to prevent fires.
“ Fires could start easy in grassy areas and new fires could grow rapidly if the wind catches any open flames,” the release said. “High fuel loads such as natural grass and vegetation and abundant crops combined with harvest activities increase the possibility of wild land fires.”
People are asked in the release to keep vehicles on established roads, not to drive them through vegetation or crops, not to use open flames and to limit activities in fields or opened land.
Fire departments are on heightened alert and are ready to respond. The release urges people to let the firefighters do their job and ask them before offering assistance.
Only trained and properly equipped personnel should attempt to extinguish wildland fires, the release says.