With the escape of a controlled burn that scorched more than an acre in the Grant Creek area north of Missoula on Tuesday, fire officials are warning that conditions are drier than usual at the start of refuse burning season.

It took two wildland fire engines and two water tenders to suppress the fire that started shortly after 2 p.m. in the 11000 block of Grant Creek Road, according to Missoula Rural Fire Deputy Chief Chris Newman.

Open-burning season resumed in the Missoula Valley on March 1. However, any general, agricultural or prescribed burning requires a permit from the Missoula City-County Environmental Health Division. Permits may be acquired online, and must be activated online after 9 a.m. on the day of burning. If air quality conditions are unsafe for fires, the permit will not be activated.

The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation had prepared a public safety campaign on open burning to start in May. “Wildfire Awareness Month” combines efforts of the FireSafe Montana, Keep Montana Green and the Governor’s Office of Community Service to raise awareness of community preparedness, hazardous fuels mitigation and fire prevention. For more information, visitfiresamemt.org.

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