Stage 2 restrictions lifted across region

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The Howe Ridge Fire shows itself in this 60 second exposure along the shores of Lake McDonald.

Just in time for Labor Day weekend, cooperating interagency fire managers across Northwest Montana are set to rescind Stage 2 fire restrictions at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

The following are set to end the restrictions: Flathead and Kootenai forests, Glacier National Park, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Fish and Wildland Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Flathead, Lake and Sanders counties. All of these areas moved to Stage 1 restrictions. Lincoln County is waiting commissioner approval.

Stage 1 fire restrictions prohibit campfires except with a developed recreation site, and smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or a developed recreation site.

Recent rain and cooler temperatures substantially slowed growth of all area wildfires, fire managers said, but people are warned that forest vegetation remains dry.

Historically, many of the wildfires in the Flathead area have grown substantially with weather systems and high winds common in late August and early September.

Fire managers are asking people who are planning to camp this weekend to not leave a campfire unattended. It is suggested to use water, dirt and a shovel to put it out and make certain it is out cold before leaving the fire.

For updates on fire restrictions across the state, visit www.firerestrictions.us.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker can be reached at (406) 758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.

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