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Current Fire Danger in Flathead County

The 2017 Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park // Photo: Glacier NPS
The 2017 Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park // Photo: Glacier NPS

Updated September 19, 2022

The current fire danger in Flathead Country is MODERATE. Check Wildland Fire Information for Travelers for updates.


With the presence of high fire danger, it's important to take precautions when recreating in the area.

  • Plan ahead and prepare. Let someone know where you will be going.
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions.
  • Think twice before starting a campfire during the heat of the day. Pay attention to wind and other local factors that could cause a campfire to escape.
  • Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department.

Air Quality

Flathead County has an air quality monitoring station located in Columbia Falls that monitors for fine particles (smoke). Please visit http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/ and follow the restrictions based on the air quality index. The recommendations for outdoor activity based on air quality is as follows:

  • Good (green): No restrictions.
  • Moderate (yellow): Sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
  • Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange): People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should limit prolonged exertion.
  • Unhealthy (red): People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should avoid any outdoor activity; everyone else should avoid prolonged exertion.
  • Very Unhealthy (purple): Avoid all physical activity outdoors. Move activities indoors or reschedule to a time when air quality is better.
  • Hazardous (maroon): Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should remain indoors.

An air quality monitoring map for the United States and Canada can be viewed here: https://aqicn.org/map/northamerica/


Current 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/pages/restrictions

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

City of Whitefish: No Restrictions
Glacier National Park: No Restrictions: Current GNP Fire Information
Flathead County: No Restrictions
Lake County: Stage 1 Fire Restrictions
Lincoln County: No Restrictions
Sanders County: Stage 1 Fire Restrictions
Flathead National Forest: No Fire Restrictions
Kootenai National Forest: No Fire Restrictions
Montana DNRC Kalispell Unit: No Fire Restrictions
Montana DNRC Stillwater Unit: No Restrictions
Montana DNRC Libby Unit: No Restrictions
Montana DNRC Swan Unit: No Restrictions

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. Each year, 70 to 80% of wildfires are human-caused and this summer the trend has continued. Northwest Montana is currently experiencing drought conditions including extremely dry forest fuels and weather forecasts of high temperatures accompanied by wind, low humidity, and minimal precipitation.  Fires continue to burn across Montana and the West where firefighting resources are in high demand. 


Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Prohibit:

  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire unless noted in the exemptions below.
    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.
  2. 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.

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions Prohibit:

  1. Building maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.
    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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

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


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
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