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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Fireworks Banned Across Western Montana As Stage 1 Restrictions Go Into Effect

Flickr user Michael Cramer (CC-BY-NC-2.0)

Counties across western Montana today imposed Stage One fire restrictions effective this Friday morning at 12:01 a.m.

The restrictions come along with a ban on fireworks on all public and private land in Missoula, Ravalli, and Lake, and Lincoln counties. Flathead County commissioners will vote Thursday on a county-wide fireworks ban.

Missoula County Office of Emergency Management Director, Adriane Beck, says the Commissioners believe this to be the responsible thing to do given the circumstances.

"Over the course of June we've seen record temperatures that are obvious to just about everyone, but in addition to that we've had very little precipitation. Going into the summer months June is typically where we catch up on some of our precipitation. This June did not produce that. That, coupled with the high temperatures led us into extreme fire danger going into the end of June and the beginning of July."

Under Stage One restrictions, campfires are limited to developed campsites with established fire pits. In the Bob Marshall Wilderness, campfires are completely prohibited. Smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed recreation sites, or areas of 3 feet in diameter cleared of all flammable materials.

Stage one restrictions also mean that anyone who starts a fire as a result of fireworks can be held financially liable for fire suppression costs. Those costs can quickly mount into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Monday, the Missoula County Fire Protection Association raised the county's fire danger to "extreme".

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