High temperatures and predictions of no rainfall for the near future caused the Bitterroot National Forest officials to raise the fire danger level to "High." Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest says the category means that fires will start from most causes on the national forest land. Unattended brush and campfires will be more likely to spread into surrounding areas and fires can quickly grow on hillsides and in areas with fuels such as grass or weeds. Mark Wilson, Fire Management Officer, said "We had cool spring weather, but conditions are drying out quickly. In many areas, spring rains resulted in a good crop of grass that can feed a wildfire when it dries out. People need to be careful when camping, driving in the back country and cutting firewood."

So far this year, Bitterroot National Forest firefighters have put out five lightning fires and five person-caused fires. Wilson cautioned people to keep campfires small, completely douse the fire when leaving the campsite and make sure the coals are cold to the touch. Drivers in the back country should stay on established roads and avoid driving over dry grass. Hot exhaust systems can start a wildfire. Firewood cutters should have a fire extinguisher and a shovel. They should do their cutting in the morning hours, too. Smokers should only light up in cleared areas and never "flip" the butts out a vehicle window.

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