PUBLIC LANDS -- Fire danger as well as still-burning wild fires will be a major factor for some campers and hunters heading for recreation areas in Idaho, Montana and Washington during Labor Day weekend.
Smoking, campfires and use of chain saws are restricted on most state and federal lands to prevent more fires. Access roads and trails to some areas are closed because of existing fires, notably in Montana and central Idaho.
For example, the Selway River Trail, popular with hikers and hunters in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, is closed this week as fire crews clear timber falling on the route in the Moose Creek District.
No major fires are listed on the Colville or Idaho Panhandle National Forests, but fire restrictions are in place.
Despite cooler temperatures, fire danger continues to be rated extreme in much of the region, said Joani Bosworth, spokeswoman for the Umatilla National Forest.
National forest websites are the best all-hours sources for updates on fire-related restrictions.
Websites with updates on fires and restrictions include:
THROUGHOUT THE WEST
- Forest fire activity updates: www.inciweb.org
- Clearwater-Nez Perce National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperce/alerts-notices
- Idaho Panhandle National Forests: www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/
- Colville National Forest: www.fs.usda.gov/colville
- Umatilla National Forest (Blue Mountains): www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/.
- Washington state lands: http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx