The hazy smoke in the valley is coming from out-of-state fires. However, local conditions have caused Stage 1 Fire Restrictions.

Those restrictions are added to the Open Burning Ban that the Ravalli County Commissioners instituted last week.

The new rules ban campfires in all but approved fire rings in approved federal or state campgrounds. Cooking on an LP gas or propane stove that can be turned on and off is allowed, however.

At Montana Fishing Access Sites, only the Chief Looking Glass site near Florence has approved campfire rings.

On the Bitterroot National Forest, approved steel or concrete fire rings can be found at:

  • Stevensville Ranger District - Larry Creek Group Site, Charles Waters, Blodgett Creek and Gold Creek Campgrounds.
  • Darby Ranger District - Black Bear and Schumaker campgrounds and Lake Como Recreation Area.
  • Sula Ranger District - Martin Creek, Jennings Camp, Indian Trees, Spring Gulch and Crazy Creek campgrounds, Crazy Creek Horse Camp, East Fork Guard Station, McCart Lookout and Two Good Cabin.
  • West Fork Ranger District - Rombo, Slate Creek, Alta and Sam Billings Memorial campgrounds.
  • Violation of the restrictions could result in a $5,000 fine.
    So far this summer, Bitterroot National Forest crews have extinguished 41 wildfires.

    Two major blazes are on Idaho State lands - The Big Cougar Fire 24 miles south of Lewiston on the Snake River is at 35,000 acres and the Highrange Fire, 8 miles west of White Bird is 2,600 acres. Evacuations are in place.