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Do Your Part to Prevent Wildfires

Wildfire Safety is Everyone's Job

A campfire ring in Glacier National Park // Photo: Glacier NPS
A campfire ring in Glacier National Park // Photo: Glacier NPS

Montana is filled with millions of acres of beautiful, pristine landscapes perfect for exploring. With more people venturing into these wild lands, there comes an increased risk of wildfires, especially in the hot and dry summer months. By taking a few extra precautions, we can all help limit wildfires while still enjoying everything Montana has to offer.


Do Your Part

As the weather becomes warmer and wildland vegetation, or fuels, begin to dry out, it is time to plan for wildland fires. Here are some tips to help you #RecreateResponsibly and do your part for wildfire prevention and safety during this fire season.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - Know how to prevent wildfires by properly using outdoor equipment, learning campfire safety, and checking for fire restrictions and closures.
PLAN AHEAD – Know what fire restrictions are in place at your destination, and check if campfires, barbecues, and flammables are allowed.
EXPLORE LOCALLY – Impacts from wildfire can change your travel plans. Have a back-up plan, like close-to-home gems that you have yet to explore.
PRACTICE PHYSICAL DISTANCING – Give people space – it’s critical to not crowd firefighting efforts. Wildfires are no-drone-zones.
PLAY IT SAFE – From fireworks to camp stoves, understand the potentially explosive nature of your toys and tools – some may be restricted in your location.
LEAVE NO TRACE – Keep your campfire small, ensure that its out completely and cold to the touch prior to leaving or going to sleep.
BUILD AN INCLUSIVE OUTDOORS – Everyone experiences the outdoors differently, and we can work together to keep our communities safe.


Follow basic campfire safety:

Vehicle Safety

  • Many people don't realize that vehicles can ignite wildfires.
  • Stay on designated roads and avoid dried grass and brush which could ignite on vehicle exhaust pipes.
  • Make sure there are no chains, cables or other metal parts dragging from your vehicle that could cause sparks.
  • Maintain proper tire pressure and brake pads.

Smoking

  • Properly extinguish and dispose of cigarette/cigar butts.
  • DO NOT throw your cigarette/cigar butts out the window.

Fire Restrictions

Know what fire restrictions are currently in place. A list and map of current Montana fire restrictions can be found here: https://www.mtfireinfo.org/

What do fire stage restrictions mean? Here are definitions from https://www.mtfireinfo.org/

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Prohibit:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire unless noted in the exemptions below.
  • 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.

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

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions Prohibit:

  • Building maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.
  • 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.
  • The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 pm to 1:00 am:
    • Operating any internal combustion engine.
    • Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
  • Using an explosive.
  • Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

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

More detail and additional exemptions can be found at: https://www.mtfireinfo.org/


Smoke & Air Quality

Often while there are no active fires in or directly around Flathead County, smoke can move into our area. There is an air quality monitoring station located in Columbia Falls that monitors for fine particles (smoke). Please visit the link below and follow the restrictions based on the air quality index.


Other Resources:

One Less Spark Campaign
Montana Wildfire Smoke - Today's Air
Leave No Trace
Smokey The Bear Fire Prevention
Montana Wildland Fire Restriction Info
Montana Fire Information for Travellers at MT.gov
Current Wildfire Info InciWeb
Glacier National Park Webcams
Glacier National Park Recreational Access Display (RAD)
Explore Whitefish Webcams
Glacier Country Regional Tourism Prevent Wildland Fires
Glacier Country Regional Tourism Wildland Fire and Smoke Update
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Current Restrictions and Closures


The 2015 Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park was believed to be human caused. // Photo: Glacier NPS
The 2015 Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park was believed to be human caused. // Photo: Glacier NPS