The City of Missoula will join other West Central Montana fire agencies in enacting Stage I fire restrictions early Thursday morning.

Conditions are extremely dry, and there is little moisture in grasses and other fuels, and Missoula Fire Chief Jason Diehl says fire danger is VERY HIGH.

"We're going into Stage One restrictions as of midnight on Thursday morning, August 7th," Diehl said. "Stage One restrictions in the city prohibit the use of fire, campfires, any detonation of fireworks, which are prohibited year-round anyway, and we're also prohibiting smoking in city open space areas along with conservation lands."

Diehl said Missoula has been very fortunate so far this summer not to have had more fires in the area.

"We had a wet June, and we're usually into fire season well before the first week in August," Diehl said. "With that fire up in Grant Creek on Monday, we'll probably see an uptick in fire activity if things don't change. Fire danger has been very high for the past week or two, and I anticipate that by the end of this week, we'll probably be going into extreme."

Mayor John Engen signed an Emergency Proclamation on Monday placing fire restrictions on all City open space and conservation land beginning Thursday. The Missoula Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution on Tuesday implementing Stage 1 restrictions for Missoula County, also beginning Thursday morning.

Missoula residents have traditionally worked together to prevent wildfires, Diehl said. When restrictions are necessary, people abide by them to keep everyone safe.

“Our citizens understand the dangers of wildfire,” he said. “We really appreciate their cooperation.”

Missoula City Fire Chief Jason Diehl