County Commissioners voted Thursday to impose Stage II Fire Restrictions in Missoula County, effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28.

Office of Emergency management Director Adriane Beck outlined the restrictions involved the the Stage Two designation.

"Stage II Restrictions include all Stage I restrictions, including extending the perpetual prohibition of fireworks from County parks, Forest Service and State lands to private lands within the county, as well as placing additional restrictions within the county," Beck said. "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."

Beck said there will be what are called 'hoot-owl' restrictions, as well.

"The following acts are prohibited from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.: operating any internal combustion engine; welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame; using an explosive; operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails; and all fireworks," she said. "Individuals can be fined up to $5,000 or $10,000 for an organization and imprisoned for up to six months for violating restrictions and closures. Individuals can be held liable for all suppression costs and damages if they are responsible for starting a fire."

Stage II Restrictions have nine exemptions, including exempting those who have written permits and emergency repair of public utilities and railroads.

This move comes on the heels of the Missoula County Fire Protection Association’s determination that fire danger in Missoula County is Extreme. That determination is in consultation with all local fire agencies, land management agencies and local government and is based on information related to weather, fuels, and current and expected conditions.

Commissioners and fire personnel urge residents to use extreme caution until conditions improve.