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

Stage-1 Fire Restrictions Remain In Effect Across Western Montana

Fire danger sign

Despite cooler, wet weather, stage-1 fire restrictions remain active for most of western Montana, including Missoula, Lake, Ravalli, Sanders, Granite, Powell, Flathead, and Lincoln counties. Restrictions apply to all private, state, and federal land in these counties.

Under Stage-1 restrictions, campfires are limited to developed campsites with established fire pits. Smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles, buildings, developed recreation sites, or areas of 3 feet in diameter cleared of all flammable materials. Violators face fines of up to $10,000 and six months imprisonment, and can be held liable for damages and suppression costs for starting a fire.

Over the past week, 22 new fires started in the Kalispell area, 12 of them human caused, according to the Northern Rockies Coordinating Group (NRCG).

The NRCG says "fine fuels have been moistened by the rain but the larger fuels, such as branches and down trees, are still very dry and can ignite quickly and burn intensely."

"The smallest spark has the potential to cause significant damage, so always crush smokes dead out; never leave a campfire unattended; ensure that your vehicle has a properly installed spark arrester that is operational; stop and park only in areas clear of vegetation; and observe all fire restrictions."

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