Monday morning, September 28, the Ravalli County Commissioners lifted the open burning ban in the county. The ban had allowed only cook fires and campfires throughout the valley, due to the hot, dry summer conditions and the "high" and "very high" fire dangers on the Bitterroot National Forest. At their weekly meeting with Emergency Coordinator Eric Hoover, along with fire and forest officials, the consensus was to allow the open burning to happen.

A reminder - if you have a field burning or some such project. you need a permit, available on the Montana statewide burn permit site. You apply for the permit, and then on the day you plan to burn, you activate it, thereby letting the 9-1-1 office that a controlled burn is happening at your location. The documents are available from the statewide permit page or from the Ravalli County Sheriff's app on your mobile device, or by calling 1-866-212-6318.

Always have an available source of water and get plenty of people to help if the burn project is large. It's been suggested to get the neighborhood together and do a group of burns (one at a time, of course). The other recommendation is to burn in the morning, because the afternoon winds in the Bitterroot are notoriously variable. Though the open burning is back, the Bitterroot National Forest still has very dry conditions, so AGAIN, when you leave your campsite - even for an hour - put out your campfires! The trees will thank you.

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