A month earlier than last year, Ravalli County has banned open burning for the summer.

The county commissioners voted to enact the open burning ban at a meeting Wednesday, after hearing from Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn, Bitterroot National Forest fire management officer Mark Wilson, Emergency Management Director Eric Hoover and Bitterroot Forest Supervisor Julie King.

The ban is only for open burning. It allows small campfires, but the area around those fires needs to be cleared and those fires must be put out completely.

The ban does not extend to fireworks. Mohn said he watching that issue on a day-to-day basis and might come back before the commission with a request for restrictions. He hoped that the public would be very careful with fireworks and patrol the immediate area to make sure fires don't start.

Wilson said the High fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest is a month earlier than normal and the dry conditions are much like the bad fire year of 2007. He said the Lolo National Forest has already moved into the Very High category.

The ban on open burning takes affect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 25.