In a flurry of fire restrictions and drought updates, the 2003 drought and fire season is off to a fast start.
“Conditions are volatile and the risk of fire is increasing daily. We urge State Parks visitors, campers and anglers to comply with the fire restrictions in effect, and to go beyond them, if they’re in an area where common sense says that’s needed,” said Tom Reilly FWP State Parks Division assistant administrator.
As many as 160 FAS’s sites and 13 State Parks are now under Stage II fire restrictions or will be soon, including popular sites such as: Cooney Reservoir, French Town Pond and Travelers’ Rest State Parks.
Stage II fire restrictions prohibit:
* 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.
* use of chain saws or other equipment between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m., and blasting, welding or other activities that generate flame or flammable materials.
Many other State Parks and Fishing Access Sites are located in counties already under Stage I fire restrictions.
Stage I restrictions limit campfires to developed campgrounds. Fires within rock fire rings are prohibited. Smoking is also prohibited, except within automobiles and structures, or in areas completely cleared of flammable materials.
“The fire danger is extremely high at a significant number of our sites,” Reilly said. “Check local conditions and fire restrictions before planning a trip, and take the appropriate precautions. Preventing human-caused fires can go a long way in easing what could be a severe wildfire season.”For details on how conditions in Montana are affecting the state’s fish, wildlife and parks resources, visit the FWP web page at http://www.fwp.state.mt.us/ and click on “Drought & Fire 2003.”