With exhausted local fire departments and law enforcement crews and the forecast of a return to hot, dry weather, the Ravalli County Commission voted Monday to impose further fire restrictions in the county.

The resolution, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, August 9, will prohibit:

  • building, maintaining, or using an open fire or campfire (unless used for cooking or fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels. Residential campfires are allowed for cooking as long as a continuous water source is available.
  • Smoking, unless in an enclosed vehicle or building, developed recreation site or in an area cleared for three feet in diameter.
  • Fireworks and pyrotechnics.
  • The commissioners were updated on forest fire activity in the county and the surrounding Bitterroot National Forest Monday morning.

    The evacuations were lifted around the Roaring Lion Fire, but the area remains under Stage 1 evacuation warning. Residents only are allowed in some areas, and permits can be obtained from officers at roadblocks.

    The Roaring Lion Fire is 30 percent contained. It gained eight acres since Sunday and is now at 8,270 acres. There are ess than 700 people on the fire, as some personnel are being re-assigned to other areas. A total of 16 homes were destroyed in the first days of the fire, along with 49 outbuildings.

    Crews are working on the south side of the fire, adding to contingency lines between the Roaring Lion Fire and the previous Observation Fire. Work in the Camas Creek area continues, and the western edge of the fire is being evaluated.

    The 10-mile stretch of the Bitterroot River between Como and Angler's Roost has been re-opened by the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks.

    The Bitterroot National Forest had five confirmed fires from the lightning storms this weekend. Those fires include the 8-acre Lost Trail fire, which has 125 firefighters and three helicopters at the scene. The Blue Joint Fire is 1/10 of an acre between Razorback Ridge and Blue Joint Creek. Two firefighters are on that blaze. The Bitterroot Forest sent four firefighters to the Elk Track Fire, also 1/10 of an acre below Salmon Mountain Lookout in the Frank Church Wilderness.

    Other lightning-caused "holdover" fires are expected to be spotted in the next couple of days.

    National Forest officials are considering the implementation of restrictions.

    The Firewise trailer is operating between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain Grange parking lot south of Hamilton along US 93.