Beavertail Hill Campground Fire

A large "slash pile" caught fire at Beavertail Hill State Park Campground on Aug 14.  The Campground Host and a Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) employee were cleaning campsites and dumping fire pit ashes on the slash pile.  But the ashes were not cold and ignited the slash and surrounding grass and shrubbery.

Because it was a Sunday afternoon, the campground was nearly deserted.  The few campers on site, along with the camp host and FWP employee attacked the fire with shovels, water buckets and a fire extinguisher.  Our quick response contained the boundaries of the fire until the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene to douse the slash pile.

This could have been a major disaster for the park, but fortunately there was no wind at the time, and most of the nearby vegetation had benefited from the wet spring and summer rains.

I fault the campers who left their site without properly dousing the fire pit.  The old rule of thumb about being able to touch your fire coals and ashes with your hand before you leave is well-advised.  The Camp Host and FWP employee who were dumping hot ashes are at fault for not following their own guidelines.  


  1. All things considered, the park employees and few campers were lucky. Too bad people can't follow rules and make things unsafe for others. I wonder if the offending campers saw this and second guessed their decision to leave before their fires were completely extinguished?

  2. campers are known to be stupid. the crew should have known better.

  3. Oh no! It just takes one careless person.



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Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula