By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
State and federal agencies have imposed further fire restrictions throughout Montana.
Stage 2 fire restrictions now apply to all federal, state, county and private land in Hill, Liberty, Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan, Roosevelt, Chouteau, Judith Basin, Fergus, Petroleum, Wheatland and Golden Valley counties. The restrictions went into effect at 1 a.m. Saturday.
According to a press release from the Lewistown Fire Restrictions Group, extreme conditions warrant the decision.
"Hot, dry, and windy conditions in the last week have increased the fire danger," the release said. "Firefighters for local, state and federal agencies have been working overtime, and numerous large fires in the mountains have depleted resources that could have been called upon for help."
Stage 2 fire restrictions prohibit all campfires, open smoking, and operating motorized vehicles off existing or designated roads and trails. Other prohibited activities include operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine, blasting, or welding between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Anyone using the machines during the designated hours should have the appropriate firefighting tools on hand, the release said. They should include at least 4 gallons of water at each location and one firefighting tool per person. For agricultural harvest, residents need a truck or trailer with a 100-gallon water tank with a hose, and a tractor with tillage equipment for emergency fire line construction, the release said.
Propane and LPG gas stoves are allowed for camping. All smoking must take place in an enclosed vehicle or building.
The Lewistown Fire Restrictions Group advised people to use caution when driving on roads that have vegetation. The unndercarriages of vehicles can be extremely hot and ignite dry brush, the release said.
"Anyone who causes a wildland fire, whether intentionally or through negligence, may be held financially liable for damages and costs of supressing the fire," the release said.