Campfires banned and Stage II Restrictions implemented
July 15, 2021
Due to worsening fire danger, campfires are banned and other fire restrictions are taking effect at 12:01 a.m. July 17 throughout most of the Missoula area.
Stage II restrictions will go into effect Saturday morning at 12:01 a.m. for areas including the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests, Bureau of Land Management land, US Fish & Wildlife lands, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Montana State Trust Lands and private property within Missoula County. Factors influencing this decision include persistent high numbers of human-caused wildfires (75-80% throughout area); low fire suppression resource availability at the area and regional level; continued hot and dry weather pattern; near drought conditions; and very high to extreme fire danger across the area. Restrictions are intended to minimize wildland fire ignitions from human caused sources.
Stage II restrictions prohibit:
• 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.
• Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.
• The following acts are prohibited from 1 p.m. – 1 a.m. and require a one-hour foot patrol following cessation of all activities: operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine; blasting, welding, operating acetylene torch or other activities that generate flame; or using an explosive.
Exemptions under which Stage II restrictions:
• Persons with a Forest Service special use authorization (including firewood permit), or other authorization specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order. If the authorization allows operation of an Internal Combustion Engine or welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame, such acts are prohibited from 1 p.m. - 1 a.m. Outside of these hours, a one-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following cessation of these activities.
• Persons using a device fueled solely 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 materials within 3 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 motor vehicles on designated roads and trails.
• Emergency repair of public utilities as per written exemption.
• 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.
• All land within a city boundary is exempted.
• Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.
Forest lands within the Scapegoat Wilderness of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex on the Seeley Lake Ranger District will enter into Stage1 Fire Restrictions July 17. Stage 1 Restrictions are also being implemented across the Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park and on DNRC lands in the Kalispell, Stillwater and Swan Units.
Stage I Restrictions prohibit:
• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire.
• Smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building; within a developed recreation site or improved site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Exemptions to Stage I Restrictions include:
• Persons building and using a campfire or charcoal fire within the confines of a metal or concrete fire ring or grill provided by the Forest Service for that purpose within a developed recreation site or improved site. For the Swan Lake Ranger District this includes: Blair Flats Dispersed Site, Holland Lake Lodge Campground and Day Use area, Mission Lookout Rental Cabin, Owl Creek Packer Camp & Rental Cabin, Swan Lake Campground & Day Use, Pine Ridge Dispersed Sit, Old Condon Ranger Station Rental Cabin, Swan River Dispersed site, Swan Guard Station Rental Cabin and Van Lake Dispersed site. Fires within rock fire rings are not authorized and are not exempted from this Order.
• Persons using a stove fire with spark arrestor.
• Persons using a stove or grill solely fueled by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels that can be turned on and off, if used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding materials within three feet of the device.
• Persons with a special use authorization or other Forest Service authorization specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order.
• Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
"With current fire activity and predicted weather, we all need to do everything we can to prevent additional wildfires from starting," Lolo National Forest Service Supervisor Carolyn Upton said in a press release. "We are asking the public to recreate responsibly and adhere to these restrictions."
Individuals can be fined up to $5,000 or $10,000 for an organization and imprisoned up to 6 months for violating restrictions and closures. Individuals can be held liable for all suppression costs and damages for starting a fire. The restrictions will remain in effect until there is a significant long-term change in fire danger and orders are rescinded.
For more information regarding fire restrictions throughout Montana visit http://www.MTFireInfo.org. Agency-specific orders are provided on the site.
Restrictions Information & Timeline at a Glance: It is the responsibility of each of us to "Know Before You Go!"
• Lake, Missoula, Mineral, Lincoln and Sanders Counties: Stage II implemented Saturday, July 17.
• Ravalli Counties: Stage II implemented Monday, July 19.
• Granite County in Stage I restrictions.
• Powell County: Decision on restrictions will be made on Monday, July 19.
• Flathead County: The CSKT private lands portion that is in the Missoula Area will implement Stage II restrictions on Saturday, July 17. The rest of the county is in Stage I July 17.
• Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests: Stage II implemented Saturday, July 17. This excludes the Scapegoat Wilderness which is in Stage I restrictions.
• Flathead National Forest and Glacier National Park: Stage I implemented Saturday, July 17
• Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks land on the Libby unit and within Missoula, Lake, Sanders, Lincoln and Mineral Counties: Stage II implemented July 17.
• Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks land in Kalispell, Stillwater and Swan Units: Stage 1 implemented July 17.