With recommendations from local fire departments and the Bitterroot National Forest, the Ravalli County Commissioners have cancelled the Open Burning season in the valley. The ban goes into effect early in the morning at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 31. Though the incidence of large uncontrolled fires has been low so far, the drier weather and the numerous thunderstorms concern forest officials, according to Bitterroot National Forest fire management officer Mark Wilson. Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn said that Bitterroot Valley fire departments are requesting closure of open burning due to recent grass fires. The closure will continue until further notice.

Campfires, as long as they are smaller than 48 inches in diameter, are allowed. But the public is cautioned to never leave a campfire unattended And, when you leave the campfire, make sure the coals are cool to the touch. Motorists pulling trailers are asked to check their safety chains to make sure they aren't dragging, causing sparks. Every year, there are reports of roadside fires started by those sparks. Don't drive in tall, dry grass. Stay on approved roads and trails in the woods. The Bitterroot National Forest has "High" fire danger and Missoula County has gone up to "Very High" fire danger.

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