Stage II fire restrictions coming to Western Montana - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana


Stage II fire restrictions coming to Western Montana

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The continued hot and dry weather has prompted area fire officials to once again hike the fire danger in west-central Montana.

Stage II fire restrictions will go into effect on federal, tribal, state, and private lands in the Missoula area at 12:01 AM on Thursday, July 27. The latest on fire restrictions can be found here.

The purpose of Stage II is to reduce the risk of human-caused fires during periods of extreme fire danger. Critical fire conditions: dry fuels, hot temperatures, low humidity, and high winds are expected to persist.

State, county, and private jurisdictions implementing restrictions:

  • MT-DNRC Southwestern Land Office/State Land and private classified ‘Forested’ Lands within *Granite, Lake, Missoula, Mineral, Ravalli, Sanders, and **Powell County
  • Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, Region 1&2 within Missoula Restrictions Area
  • Counties: Granite, Lake, Missoula, Mineral, Ravalli, and Sanders
  • The city of Missoula has agreed to join the federal, state, and county officials into Stage II restrictions on its open spaces, conservation lands, and non-irrigated park lands.
  • Bitterroot National Forest
  • Lolo National Forest
  • Flathead Indian Reservation
  • Missoula Field Office BLM
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

*Granite County lands north of I-90.

**Powell County lands north of I-90. Powell County is not implementing Stage II Restrictions on private lands that are not classified ‘Forested.’

Missoula Fire Chief Jason Diehl and Mayor John Engen have decided to join federal, state and county officials in moving to Stage II restrictions because of continuing dry conditions and hot weather.

"If conditions continue, we may consider closures of certain areas," Diehl said. Further restrictions may involve closures of public lands but most likely will be recreational "hoot owl" closures beginning in the afternoons. 

Under STAGE II the Following Acts are prohibited:

  • Building maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.
  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. except as otherwise described below:

  • Operating any internal combustion engine.
  • Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  • Using an explosive. (a one-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following the cessation of all activities.)
  • Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

Exemptions to Stage II Restrictions:

  • Persons with a written permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act.
  • Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off.  Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable material within three feet of the device.
  • Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.
  • Operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and trails.
  • Emergency repair of public utilities and railroads.
  • Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
  • Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  • Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.

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