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Much of Northwest Montana now under "extreme" fire danger - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Much of Northwest Montana now under "extreme" fire danger

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UPDATE

KALISPELL - The Northern Rockies Coordination Group announced on Tuesday that the fire danger in Northwest Montana had been hiked to "extreme" with the exception of Glacier National Park -- which remains at "very high."

Ali Ulwelling with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says that as this week may be the hottest of the summer with temperatures expected to exceed 100°, meaning that grasses and forest vegetation is continuing to dry, and this trend is expected to continue.

Fire restrictions are considered when fire danger is high to extreme, but other factors such as availability of firefighting resources, large-fire activity in an area, and the number of human-caused wildfires are considered as well, according to Ulwelling.

Click here to view the latest on fire restrictions across Montana.

Currently in or going into Restrictions:

  • The Kootenai National Forest, Lincoln County, and Libby Unit of the DNRC are currently in STAGE 1 Fire  Restrictions. 
  • Sanders County and the Plains Unit of the DNRC will be going into Stage 2 Restrictions Friday, August 10.
  •  Lake County and the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe lands will also be entering STAGE 2 Fire Restrictions Friday, August 10, but the north part of Lake County and the Swan will NOT be in restrictions. 

Not in Restrictions:

  • Flathead County
  •  Flathead National Forest
  • Stillwater, Swan, and Kalispell Units of the Montana DNRC
  •  Glacier National Park

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions prohibit: 

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire unless noted in the exemptions found on the www.firerestrictions.us/mt website. 
  2. 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. 

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions prohibit: 

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire. 
  2. 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. 
  3. The following acts are prohibited between 1:00 pm and 1:00 am, and a one-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following the cessation of all activities as identified in #3 below:

a) Operating any internal combustible engine.
b) Welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with open flame. 
c) Using an explosive. 
4) Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails. 
 

KALISPELL - With above-normal temperatures in the forecast, the fire danger level has been elevated to "extreme" in Northwest Montana.

The Flathead National Forest reports when the fire danger is "extreme", fires of all types start quickly and burn intensely.

All fires are potentially serious and can spread very quickly with intense burning. Small fires become big fires much faster than at the "very high" level. Spot fires are probable, with long-distance spotting likely. These fires are very difficult to fight and may become very dangerous and long-lasting.

Fire restrictions have not yet been implemented for the Flathead National Forest yet. But even without restrictions, fire managers encourage the public to practice responsible fire use including always carrying a shovel and bucket, having fire extinguishers in vehicles, considering using camp stoves instead of campfires, being extra-vigilant when using chainsaws and other equipment and going the extra mile to prevent human-ignited wildfires.

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