Two weeks ago, the Bitterroot National Forest moved up to "Very High" fire danger. Less than a week later, they moved to "Extreme" fire danger. And only a few days later, on Saturday, July 17, Stage 2 Fire Restrictions will start on the forest.

Tod McKay, Public Affairs Officer, reported the Bitterroot forest has never reached Extreme conditions and Stage 2 restrictions this early in the fire season. For instance, the Stage 2 level has not been reached since August of 2018, three years ago. In fact, the forest jumped over Stage 1 restrictions right into Stage 2 because of the incredibly dry conditions. The restrictions include the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Montana and the Anaconda-Pintler wilderness on the eastern side of the Bitterroot Valley. Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness areas in Idaho are not included in this ruling. For other Montana restrictions check this website.

Matt Anderson, Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor, said, "With current fire activity and predicted weather, we all need to do everything we can to prevent additional wildfires from starting. We are asking the public to recreate responsibly and adhere to these restrictions."

The restrictions:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire is prohibited.
  • Smoking, (except in an enclosed vehicle or building or a three-foot diameter cleared space) is prohibited.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine is prohibited. Ask officials for specific exemptions.
  • Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame is prohibited. Ask officials for specific exemptions.
  • For the latest updates, keep checking the Bitterroot National Forest Facebook page.

    Missoula County also is moving to Stage 2 restrictions Saturday.

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