With the holiday weekend approaching, a lot of us, including myself, are going to be enjoying our national forests and other public lands, so it's important to have a lot of fun but also be safe.
"You know, coming up on the holiday weekend, we really want people to come out and enjoy the forests. Again, come out and enjoy the forest. Know what you need to do to be safe. Have a good time and go home with only good stories to tell," said Dave Cunningham of the Lewis & Clark Forest Service.
With dry conditions and fires widespread across the region, it's important to make sure you don't amplify the problem.
"Folks, just be sure to go ahead and make sure those fires are out. Keep them small, keep them under control. Put them out before you leave," said Cunningham.
If you're camping, it's not enough to scope out what's around you. You also need to look up.
"You know, unfortunately, we have some pretty widespread mountain pine beetle kill trees. This is true around the state. Those trees, three to five years after they're hit by pine beetles, they start falling over. So we want to be sure not to set up our tent underneath, or park underneath, particularly if it's a windy day or there's a possibility of a thunderstorm later that evening," said Cunningham.
When you're hiking and camping, you also need to be aware dangers of the furry variety.
"At the Lewis & Clark, we have black bears everywhere. And then along the Rocky Mountain Front, we also have grizzly bears, so people want to think about that and what that might mean for them," said Cunningham.
That means, you need to know how to use bear spray.
"First off, you need to have it. Secondly, you need to carry it in a place where it's accessible, not in the bottom of you pack, not in your saddle bag, but on your hip. The safety device, you would grab.... You go ahead and take your thumb and you pop that safety off. This little lever... is your trigger that activates the spray. You press that down, spray it, you would hold it out in front of you. And remember, the bear's going to be coming in fairly low and fast and getting closer, so even though it puts out a cloud of spray, you want to spray low enough so that the spray will be hitting the bear in the face," said Cunningham.
And of course, statistically speaking, the most dangerous part of your trip is driving to and from your destination, so it's important to buckle up and drive safe.
For ABC Fox Montana News, I'm Micah Rumsey.