Ravalli Co. enacts open burning ban

Hotter, drier conditions and a request by the fire warden prompted commissioners to prohibit permitted open burning. The ban goes into effect at 12:01. a.m. Friday. That means you're going to have to wait for awhile before burning that slash pile.

Warmer weather and conditions that are drying out our landscapes prompted Ravalli County commissioners on Wednesday to impose a prohibition on open burning permits.

The ban will start at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

If you had plans to burn that slash pile you'll have to wait until we get cooler temperatures and more moisture. But it could be awhile before that happens.

Fire danger is expected to increase as we move further into summer.

The cool spring left an abundant growth of grass, which is ladder fuel for fire.

Commissioner Greg Chilcott said we can't control lightning or hot weather and winds. But he said the county can try to prevent human-caused fires.

"Fire that causes people to be evacuated from their homes or people with respiratory difficulties having to leave the area," he said, "Anything that we can do to help forestall a large catastrophic wildfire."

The ban on open burning does not affect campfires or cooking fires.

Office of Emergency Management director Erik Hoover said the open burning ban is the "first step" as we move deeper into fire season.

He said more restrictions are possible in coming weeks.

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