Western Montana moves to Stage II fire rules

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The Bitterroot National Forest fire danger level is at “Extreme” due to continued hot weather and record dry fuel conditions.

Bitterroot National Forest Rob Chaney

Much of western Montana will expand fire restrictions as hot, dry, windy weather continued to turn the surrounding forests into tinderboxes Thursday.

Missoula County will impose its Stage II rules starting Saturday. That means no campfires or other open fires on all public and private land; no smoking except within an enclosed vehicle, building or developed recreation site; Hoot Owl restrictions from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. on operation of lawn mowers, chainsaws or other internal combustion engine equipment, welding or other torch equipment, or use of explosives.

Operating motor vehicles off designated roads and trails except for official authorized business is also prohibited.

“With the recent spate of wildfire starts in and around the Missoula Valley, coupled with regional weather patterns and fire conditions deteriorating daily, we feel that in the best interest of public safety this move to Stage II restrictions is warranted,”

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