By angelamontana

Posted: August 7, 2023

KALISPELL — Interagency fire managers are implementing Stage 2 fire restrictions across northwest Montana.

Under stage 2 restrictions, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire is prohibited. People may cook on a liquid petroleum gas or propane stove that can be turned on and off. Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails is also prohibited. Other restrictions are listed below.

Northwest Montana is currently in extreme fire danger and experiencing severe drought conditions contributing to extremely dry forest fuels. When fire danger is “Extreme,” fires of all types start quickly and burn intensely. Small fires become big fires much faster than at the “very high” fire danger level. Spot fires are probable, with long-distance spotting likely. These fires are very difficult to fight and may become very dangerous and often last for several days.

Federal, state, county, and private jurisdictions under Stage 2 restrictions include:

  • Flathead National Forest, including Hungry Horse, Glacier View, Swan Lake, Spotted Bear and Tally Ranger Districts to include the Great Bear Wilderness, Mission Mountain Wilderness, and the Flathead National Forest portion of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
  • Kootenai National Forest, including Rexford, Fortine, Three Rivers, Libby and Cabinet Ranger Districts
  • Glacier National Park
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, including Kalispell, Libby, Stillwater, Swan and Plains Units.
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, within Flathead County, Lake County, Lincoln County, Sanders County.
  • Flathead County 
  • Lake County 
  • Lincoln County 
  • Sanders County
  • Flathead Indian Reservation
  • Green Diamond Resource Company – Not allowing campfires
  • Flathead Ridge Ranch – Prohibits campfires
  • Southern Pine Plantation of Montana – Not allowing campfires
  • Stimson Lumber Company – Not allowing campfires
  • F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company – lands closed to public access of any kind starting Aug. 7

The latest restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m., Saturday, August 5, 2023, with the exception of Lake County’s restrictions, which took effect Aug. 1.

The intent of fire restrictions is to reduce fire risk and prevent wildfires during periods of high to extreme danger by decreasing potential sources of ignition. These restrictions will be in place until further notice.

Fire managers urge people to use caution while they are out recreating due to dry conditions and fire dangers. As many as 75% of wildfires in Montana are human-caused on an annual basis. The leading causes of fire escapes are debris burning, escaped campfires, and lawn/farm equipment.

  • Never discard cigarettes, matches or smoking materials on the ground.
  • Maintain and clean any logging, farming, or lawn equipment before use.
  • Ensure trailer chains are properly secured to prevent dragging, which can cause sparks.
  • Debris burning is prohibited in northwest Montana during July, August and September.

Learn more about wildfire prevention and the latest information on fires in Montana at https://www.mtfireinfo.org.


Stage 2 Fire Restrictions:

The following acts are prohibited until further notice:

Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire

  • EXEMPTION: Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding materials within three feet of the device.

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.

Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

The following acts are prohibited between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m., and a one-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following the cessation of all activities as identified below:

  • Operating any internal combustion engine.
      • Operating generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator.
    • Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.
    • Using an explosive.


  • Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written permit that specifically authorizes the activity.
  • Any federal, state, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  • Review local ordinances specific to jurisdiction.

Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.

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