A local resident burned in a cropland fire Monday remained at a hospital in Salt Lake City today, and Montanans were urged to use caution as fire danger remains high in the eastern part of the state.
Nellie Kim Sorenson of Kremlin was listed in critical condition Wednesday at the University of Utah Medical Center. Cindy Smith, executive director of Bullhook Community Health Center, confirmed this morning that Sorenson, a former employee of the medical center, was burned in the cropland fire Monday.
Sorenson’s condition was not available by deadline this morning.
The National Weather Service this morning again issued a Red Flag Warning about high fire dangers in most of Montana east of the Continental Divide, including in Blaine, Chouteau, Hill and Liberty counties.
“The combination of low humidities and isolated thunderstorms with strong … winds will lead to critical fire weather today, ” the warning, in effect from noon to midnight today, said.
The Hill County Commission has warned residents to use extreme caution during this time of high fire danger, made more extreme due to the heavy growth of vegetation this spring.
Hill County Commission Chair Mike Wendland said this morning that after the county participates in a regional call updating fire conditions, the commission will decide whether to implement Stage One fire restrictions. Typically that is done on a regional, rather than county-by-county basis, he said.
A Stage One restriction allows fires within pits or fire structures in established camp sites, in enclosed gas, propane or butane stoves, use of charcoal in metal barbecues, and fires within cabins using a spark arrestor or screen. The only banned burning is with tiki lights.
Commissioners said in a warning earlier this week to “use common sense” regarding the high fire danger. Fires could start easily in grassy areas and new fires could grow rapidly if the wind catches any open flames. High fuel loads such as natural grass and vegetation and abundant crops combined with harvest activities increase the possibility of wild land fires.
People are asked in the release to keep vehicles on established roads, not to drive them through vegetation or crops, not to use open flames and to limit activities in fields or opened land.
Fire departments are on heightened alert and are ready to respond. The commission urged people to let the firefighters do their job and ask them before offering assistance.
Only trained and properly equipped personnel should attempt to extinguish wildland fires, they said.