LIBBY — In just over a week’s span, six fires were started just outside of Libby in the Kootenai National Forest in northwest Montana.
Investigations have been launched into all six, and to this point, two have been deemed to have been caused by humans. The cause? The deliberate setting off of fireworks.
“They were out shooting them off where they weren't supposed to be. Whether or not they were trying to cause [a fire] you can't say if that was their intention,” said LaRona Rebo, a spokesperson for the Kootenai National Forest. “Fireworks are always illegal on federal, state, and county lands.”
Fortunately, the six fires have been quickly contained to mitigate damages.
“We've had all six of those equal 5.7 acres all together with the largest one being four acres,” says Rebo.
The U.S. Forest Service posted on Facebook:
Forest, State, and County officials are seeking any information on multiple, human-caused wildfires set by fireworks on the Jennings Haul Road on the Libby Ranger District. If you or anyone you know has any information on these fires, please contact the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 406-293-4112.
Officials are extremely concerned about the hot, dry conditions and urge the public to please use caution while recreating on the forest. The Kootenai National Forest is currently in very high fire danger. As a reminder, fireworks are always illegal on Federal and State lands, regardless of weather conditions.
Due to the recent string of outbreaks, Lincoln County will be implementing its first stage of fire restrictions, starting Saturday, July 29th. That means no campfires and no smoking unless enclosed in a vehicle or building.
As for the ongoing investigation, Rebo hopes the public will remain vigilant to suspicious activity.
“Always report anything that looks out of the ordinary. And when you do report, what's helpful is the date, the approximate time,” Says Rebo. If you saw a vehicle going up a road. If you can do it safely, vehicle descriptions, license plates, even a subject description is helpful.”
Anyone with relevant information pertaining to these investigations can call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 406-293-4112.