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

Stage-II Fire Restrictions To Go Into Effect Across Northwestern Montana

Josh Burnham
Stage 2 Fire restrictions go into effect across northwestern Montana Thursday at 1:00 a.m.

Greater restrictions on burning will go into effect later this week as fire danger increases in Northwest Montana. The Stage 2 fire restrictions will go into effect all across northwest Montana at 1:00 a.m. Thursday.

Stage 2 restrictions prohibit any open burning, including campfires. Exceptions include fire fueled solely by liquid petroleum or other actives with a permit or written authorization. But individuals are still responsible for any fire started by exempted activities.

Spotted Bear Ranger District information officer Al Koss says these restrictions apply to any lands outside of designated city limits, regardless of ownership.

"Before we had campfires in the campgrounds in the metal rings, and now with the increased fire danger we are curtailing all of those campfires."

In Flathead National Forest about 30 fires are burning.

On the Kootenai National Forest there have been at least 51 active fires since last week.

There will be a community meeting with information about  the Northeast Kootenai Complex  fires Tuesday evening at 7:oo p.m., at the Trego Civic Center.

The Thompson Divide Complex in Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest is burning 13,600 acres.

A public meeting about the Thompson Divide Complex will be held on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Izaak Walton Hotel outside the shelter in Essex.

Areas going under stage 2 restrictions include:

  • Flathead National Forest,
  • Kootenai National Forest,
  • Bob Marshall Wilderness Lands, within the Flathead National Forest,
  • Glacier National Park,
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lands,
  • MT-DNRC Northwestern Land Office,
  • Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region 1 lands,
  • Flathead, Lake (outside of Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe), Lincoln, and Sanders counties.

Stage 2 restrictions:
1.     Prohibit any open burning, including campfires.

2.     Smoking is allowed only in areas cleared of all flammable materials.

3.     Motorized vehicles must stay on designated roads and trails.

4.     The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 pm to 1:00 am:

a.     Operating an internal combustion engine- i.e. chainsaws and other equipment.

b.    Blasting, welding, or other activities that generate flame or flammable material.

c.     A patrol is required for one hour following cessation of all work as described in a. or b.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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