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

Montana Fire Restrictions Ease After Favorable Weather 

High fire danger sign.
U.S. Forest Service

Wildfire evacuations and restrictions are rolling back across Montana amid widespread precipitation and cooler temperatures. But Montana’s 2021fire season is by no means over.

Favorable weather conditions over the past couple of weeks have prompted fire managers and local law enforcement to rescind restrictions and evacuation measures.

During a press conference in Missoula, Wednesday, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte gave this update.

“All evacuation and pre-evacuation orders have been lifted across the entire state. No Montanan today is under an evacuation order.”

To date, fires have destroyed at least 50 homes and led to the evacuation or pre-evacuation notices for thousands of Montanans.

Stage-2 fire restrictions are being lifted across a huge slice of western Montana. That means campfires will once again be allowed in campgrounds and in dispersed camping areas for the late summer and early fall recreation season.

Fire danger ratings in many of those same areas are also dipping from ‘Very High’ or ‘Extreme’ to ‘High’.

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Sonya Germann reminds Montanans that above-normal fire potential is expected through October.

“So given this forecast it’s more important than ever to recognize that while we can’t control the weather, we can control our actions. One of the best ways to reduce wildfire risk is to not start wildfires in the first place.”

Germann asks Montanans to be extra careful with fire heading into the fall agricultural and hunting season.

Nearly 2,100 hundred fires have torched over 825,000 acres in Montana this year, the most since 2017. Suppression efforts have so far cost Montana taxpayers nearly $45 million since early July.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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