The Missoula County Fire Protection Association has elevated the fire danger in Missoula County to extreme.

Spokesman for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Jordan Koppen, made the announcement at noon on Monday.

"We've seen a lot of hot and dry conditions lately in western Montana," Koppen said. "A lot of grasses, trees and shrubs have dried out, even our green trees. They aren't carrying as much fuel moisture, and we're just in one of those stages where we've reached that point."

In addition, Koppen predicted that Stage One and even Stage Two restrictions could be in effect by the end of the week.

"Restrictions are probably going to come down the pike in the near future and we'll probably see campfires eliminated altogether just because we can't afford to take any chances that something from an ignitable source might get away," he said. "We're just too busy with the fires that we have right now."

When Stage One restrictions do go into effect:

  1. NO Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire unless noted in the exemptions.
  2. NO 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.

If and when Stage Two Restrictions are put in place:

  1. NO Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire!
  2. NO 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.
  3. NO Operating Internal Combustion Engines; Welding or operating acetlylene or other torch with open flame; or using an Explosive from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. A two-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following the cessation of all activities.
  4. NO operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.