As has happened in other area counties, the Ravalli County Commission has stopped any open burning as of midnight Thursday, June 30.

The commissioners voted unanimously to halt any burning of slash or fields due to the extreme heat in the Bitterroot, along with an early forest fire southwest of Hamilton.

The resolution still allows campfires and fireworks, with current restrictions. For instance, fireworks are not allowed in downtown Hamilton or on the Bitterroot National Forest. Campfires must be in an area cleared of flammable material and, before you leave the site, the campfire should be extinguished with the coals cool to the touch.

The open burning ban is supported by all the Bitterroot Valley fire chiefs, according to Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn, who has seen the area drying out faster than in previous years.