KALISPELL - Areas in Northwest Montana will soon be going under tighter restrictions.
Interagency fire managers will put Stage I Fire Restrictions into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2023.
Fire officials note that each year, 70 to 80% of wildfires are human-caused and this summer the trend has continued.
Northwest Montana is currently experiencing drought conditions including extremely dry forest fuels; forecasts of temperatures above normal accompanied by low humidity, wind, and minimal precipitation; and competition for firefighting resources, as fires continue to burn.
Fire Restrictions aim to reduce fire risk and prevent wildfires during periods of high to extreme danger by decreasing potential sources of ignition.
Federal, State, and Private jurisdictions under Stage I restrictions include:
- Flathead National Forest, including Hungry Horse, Glacier View, Swan Lake, Spotted Bear and Tally Ranger Districts to include the Great Bear Wilderness, Mission Mountain Wilderness, and the Flathead National Forest portion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. *NO recreation site campfire exemptions
- Kootenai National Forest, including Rexford, Fortine, Three Rivers, Libby and Cabinet Ranger Districts. *NO recreation site campfire exemptions
- Glacier National Park
- US Fish & Wildlife Service, Including Lost Trail and Swan River National Wildlife Refuge
- Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, including Kalispell, Libby, Stillwater and Plains Units. State land & private classified forested lands
- Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Region 1 within Flathead County, Lincoln County, Sanders County
- Flathead County – Stage I fire restrictions
- Lake County – No fire restrictions
- Lincoln County – Stage I fire restrictions
- Sanders County– Stage I fire restrictions
- Green Diamond - are not allowing campfires on their lands
- Flathead Ridge Ranch - prohibits campfires on their lands
- Southern Pine Plantation of Montana - Industrial Timberlands in Lincoln, Sanders, and Flathead Counties are not allowing campfires
- Stimson Private Timber Company - are not allowing campfires on their lands
- Stoltze Timber Company - are not allowing campfires on their lands
The Following Acts Are Prohibited Stage I Fire Restrictions:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Stage I Exemptions:
- Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
- Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding materials within three feet of the device.
- Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
- Any Federal, State, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
- All land within a city boundary is exempted. *Review local ordinances specific to jurisdiction.
- Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.
- You could be fined up to $5,000 individually or $10,000 for an organization and imprisoned up to 6 months for violating restrictions and closures.
- You can be held liable for all suppression costs and damages if you start a fire.
Visit https://www.mtfireinfo.org/ for the latest information on current wildfire and restrictions.
Know your risk and do your part to prevent accidental wildfire ignitions this summer.
- Never discard cigarettes, matches or smoking materials on the ground.
- Maintain and clean any logging, farming, or lawn equipment before use.
- Ensure trailer chains are properly secured to prevent dragging which can cause sparks.
- Avoid driving or parking your vehicle, ATV, or UTV on dry grass.
- Debris burning is prohibited in NW Montana during July, August and September.