Fire Officials Prepare for ‘Worst Case Scenario’ Despite Rain
Fire Operation Specialist Joe Rediske with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) appeared on the Friday KGVO ‘Catchin’ the Big Ones’ fishing show with host Denny Bedard.
Rediske began the conversation by stating the reason for his appearance: the annual opening weekend of the area’s Fourth of July fireworks stands.
“The firework stands are opening up this afternoon and that's why I'm sitting here today, said Rediske. “Everybody's going out and buying their fireworks and that's great and I agree with them. After all, nothing says celebrating your country's independence like blowing up a small part of it. But we as the firefighters want to just to make sure everybody's being safe and cognizant about that.”
Rediske offered this important information regarding fireworks.
“It's surprisingly dry out,” he said. “We have gotten a lot of rain in the last couple of weeks and that's been great, but Mother Nature is moving along. The seasons are progressing and things are drying out and that potential for fire does exist. So if you are going to go out and enjoy your fireworks we ask that you just be cognizant and have a hose or have water on hand. Just plan for that worst-case scenario because it is a possibility right now.”
Rediske advised Montanans to not be fooled by the amount of rain the area has received over the past few weeks.
“We did get a lot of rain and everybody's saying like ‘oh well, fire seasons canceled’,” he said. “That is not the case. We're watching it dry out right now. I was up above Dirty Ike up the Clark Fork corridor the other day and it's getting ready to burn. The next three to six weeks are going to be critical. If it continues to rain and be cool for the next three to six weeks it will slow down our fire season.”
Rediske emphasized the importance of getting more rain in the next few weeks to mitigate the possible risk of wildfires.
“If it starts getting dry right now and continues to be dry for the next three to six weeks, then we could be very busy,” he said. “But there's always a fire season. Fire season for us is never canceled, at least not for us. We're going to be busy. We're going to earn our paychecks. The difference is how much of it's going to make the news. Just because you don't see a dozen big huge fires on the news doesn't mean we're not running around like chickens with our heads cut off.”
It is illegal to light fireworks in the Missoula city limits.