With the Bitterroot National Forest raising the fire danger to "high" and the weather forecast of 80-degree highs and no rain, the Ravalli County Commissioners decided to close the open burning season in the Bitterroot Valley, starting early Monday morning, July 20. Commissioners Chris Hoffman, Jeff Burrows and Greg Chilcott heard an update from Mark Wilson of the Bitterroot National Forest and Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn told the board that the Bitterroot Fire Council, a group of volunteer fire department chiefs, also requested closing the open burning period.

This is the normal time for shutting down the burning of fields and ditchbanks. According to Wilson, since 2015, the earliest time was June 24th, with July 31st being the latest. Most closing dates were mid-July. He said the "High" fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest was declared Wednesday.

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