New rules are in effect against campfires fueled by wood at the popular Gem and Middle Lakes near Trapper Peak.

Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest said in a news release that fires fueled by butane, gasoline or kerosene are still allowed, but "open" campfires are not allowed within a quarter mile of the short of each lake.

He said increased use of the lakes has used up all available dead, dry and downed wood in the immediate area. In fact, some living trees had been cut down to fuel the campfires.

According to McKay, forest crews and volunteers have removed "dozens of fire rings and pounds of burned trash" at the two lakes, which are along Baker Creek, leading to Baker Lake at Trapper Peak. (see map)

The lakes, at 8,500 feet, are only two miles from Baker Lake. For more information, contact the West Fork Ranger Station (406) 821-3269.