Stage II fire restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 10, on City of Missoula open space and conservation lands, including Mount Sentinel, the North Hills, Mount Jumbo and all other City conservation lands. Missoula Fire Chief Jeff Brandt and Mayor John Engen decided to join federal, state and county officials in moving to Stage II restrictions because of continuing dry conditions and hot weather. The current fire danger is rated as Extreme. “With regional weather patterns and fire conditions deteriorating daily we feel that in the best interest of public safety Stage II restrictions are warranted,” Brandt said. “If conditions persist, we may consider closures of certain areas.” Further restrictions may involve closures of public lands, but more likely recreational “hoot owl” closures will begin in the afternoons. Stage II restrictions prohibit campfires. Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle or building or while stopped in an area that is clear of all flammable materials in a 3-foot circle. Stage II restrictions on City open space and conservation lands also prohibit operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails; operating any internal combustion engine, welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame between or use of any explosives 1 p.m. and 6 a.m. These activities are normally prohibited on city open space and conservation lands. The areas affected by the restrictions include conservation and parklands of Mount Jumbo, Mount Sentinel, including the Cox Property; North Hills; the Kim Williams Trail; Greenough Park; and the Tower Street conservation area as well as all other City-owned conservation lands. See the City Parks, Trails, and Open Space map online http://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/468/available-maps. The printed map is also available at Parks and Recreation offices at 600 Cregg Lane. Please remember that City parks that are not irrigated are extremely dry.