Montana Wildfire Season Off To A Slow Start

Montana's August sky is not shrouded in gray smoke and the air is not littered with the war-zone racket of planes and helicopters ferrying retardant to burning mountain timber. The 2004 wildfire season in Montana is barely a wisp of the 2003 calamity...

For now, Harrington said, the goal is to remain ready for outbreaks and use rapid initial attacks to extinguish any fires before they can grow. Fire officials already are looking toward late September and the first big autumn storm that typically brings days of rain or some mountain snows to end the fire season, he said.

``We're still in the fire season, but every day that goes by that doesn't have any big project fires is one day less of the fire season,'' Nelson said.