A large swath of Northwest Montana will be moving into Stage II Fire Restrictions at 12:01 am tomorrow, August 20 including Lincoln county, Sanders county, Flathead County, Lake county and Mineral county.

"So the biggest change that most people will find, is that before campfires were allowed in designated sites, and under Stage II there's no campfires or open flame devices allowed," DNRC Spokesman Jeremy Pris said. "It's just reached the point where firefighters are stretched thin and really need to commit the resources and take care of the fires we have without any additional starts."

There are also “Hoot owl” restrictions for use of internal combustion engines in the forest, with a restriction on all use after 1 p.m.  Pris says the new restrictions will also effect smokers.

"So in addition to no campfires or open flame devices, we also have some restrictions on smoking," Peris said. "You must be in an enclosed vehicle or building or area cleared of any flammable material. We also ask anyone to not operate any motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails."

DNRC Spokesman Dan Cassidy says that although Missoula County is not going into Stage II restrictions, parts of Missoula County are.

"The Missoula County that encompasses the Swan Valley," Grant said. "We can just only affect what we have jurisdiction over and so its going to be within the Flathead National Forest boundaries because there is a lot of the Missoula County down in the Flathead boundaries."

Adriane Beck from Missoula Emergency Services said that the current conditions in Missoula County do not warrant Stage II restrictions, she also applauded Missoulians for abiding by Stage I restrictions much better than they have in the past.

Below are the full list of restrictions under Stage II as described by Firerestrictions.us.

The following acts are prohibited until further notice:

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.

The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.:

a. Operating any internal combustion engine.

b. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

c. Using an explosive.

A one hour foot patrol in the work area is required following cessation of all activities as identified in #3 above.

Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.


Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.

Persons using a device fueled solely 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 flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.

Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.

Operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and trails.

Emergency repair of public utilities and railroads as per attached conditions.

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.

Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.


You could be fined up to $5,000 individually or $10,000 for an organization and imprisonment 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.