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Fire Restrictions to take effect throughout Southwest Montana

Roberston Draw Fire
Posted at 8:41 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 22:41:17-04

BUTTE — Stage one fire restrictions officially go into effect on midnight July 10 across Southwest Montana.

"Under stage one fire restrictions, campfires are only allowed in developed recreation sites. .at a developed site you’re gonna know you’re okay to have a fire if you see a metal constructed fire ring," said Kevin Smith, Butte Ranger District Fire Management Officer.

There are three stages of fire restriction.

Stage I: Campfires are not allowed outside of developed recreation sites.

Stage II: No campfire at all, not even in developed sites

Stage III: Forest closure

"One of the reasons we go into restrictions is that we’re concerned about person-caused fires, human-caused fires," said Smith.

With the dry weather and drought-like conditions, the forests are like a large tinder box waiting for someone to make a mistake when putting out a fire.

"Visually if you look around us, it looks pretty green you know you see green color, so visually it’s green but last year's grass is that brown stuff underneath that green, so it’s just dry tinder ready to go," said Smith.

"One of the reasons we go into restrictions is that we’re concerned about person-caused fires, human-caused fires," said Smith.

When making a campfire in developed recreation sites, there are some precautions you should take.

"You never want to leave it unattended. That is when mistakes happen and try not to burn in windy conditions or near dry grasses and anything that might be receptive for fire," said Monica Thomas, Butte Ranger District Engine Foreman.

When extinguishing your campfire, make sure to bring proper equipment so a wildfire doesn’t occur.

Fire Restrictions to take effect throughout Southwest Montana

"I would make sure that I always have a shovel and a bucket of water to extinguish my fire with or to take care of anything that might happen in case it got away," said Thomas.

Smith said this is early for fire season in Montana and that the forest service is currently in preparedness level four.

"That means the conditions are such that fires are easy to start, easy to get going, easy to expand and get big. Resources are becoming limited so when we have a fire start and we’re trying to get engines or crews, there’s now enough activity that there’s competition," said Smith.