MISSOULA — The recent rainfall and cooler temperatures have prompted fire officials to lower the fire danger level in Missoula County.
Missoula County fire protection agencies have dropped the area fire danger to "very high" however, the area remains under Stage II fire restrictions.
People are still being urged to use caution when outdoors as fires can still start easily from all causes, and immediately spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity.
A drought persists across western Montana and the weather forecast is calling for a return to above normal temperatures and low relative humidity by the end of the week.
“Missoula, Ravalli, and Mineral counties together have dealt with 18 new wildland fires since August 1st and one-third of those were still caused by humans! We can’t control the lightning, but those human sparks are 100% preventable,” noted Kristin Mortenson with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC).
Under Stage II restrictions, the following acts are prohibited until rescinded:
- 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.
- Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.
- The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.:
- Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine.
- Blasting, welding, operating acetylene torch or other activities that generate flame.
- Using an explosive.