Fire restrictions ordered in west-central Montana

MISSOULA (AP) — Campfires, smoking and off-road driving will be prohibited in west-central Montana, beginning at noon Friday, due to the wildfire danger.

The Stage II restrictions apply in Missoula, Ravalli, Mineral and Sanders counties and the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Chris Johnson with the Lolo National Forest tells the Missoulian that people can’t have open fires anywhere, including their backyards, and in general can’t smoke outside their home or car and shouldn’t detonate fireworks or explosives.

Montana has seen little precipitation in over a month and temperatures are forecast to reach into the 100s in north-central Montana on Thursday and Friday. Fire danger is rated very high or extreme in west-central Montana.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs says a lightning-caused fire near Hot Springs had burned 1,800 acres by Wednesday afternoon and forced the evacuation of one house.

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