Fire danger eases across Bitterroot, restrictions lifted

The Bitterroot National Forest on Monday lowered fire danger by two levels, from extreme to high, and lifted activity restrictions after cool, rainy weather reduced the forest’s propensity for new fire starts and rapid fire spread. 

The forest had been at extreme fire danger, the highest of five levels of fire danger, for much of late summer because of low humidity, hot temperatures and high winds. Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibit campfires and open-flame stoves, and prohibit smoking in almost all cases, had been in place since Aug. 12. The lifting of the restrictions means that campfires are once again allowed where normally permitted. The forest also lifted a restriction on afternoon firewood cutting. 

Ravalli County still has a prohibition on open burning, but cooking and campfires are allowed. Open burning also remains prohibited in Missoula County, and recreational fires without a permit are also prohibited in Missoula city limits. Proper campfire safety remains essential even when fire danger is lowered: Embers too hot to touch are too hot to leave unattended and should be drowned with water until cool. 

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