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wildfire forest fire stock stockimage

Fire burns through undergrowth in this stock image.

Lewis and Clark and Jefferson counties are banning the open burning of debris due to the risk of wildfire. 

The burn ban took effect in Lewis and Clark County Thursday. 

"The decision is based on high temperatures, high winds, and predicted ERCs (Energy Release Components)," Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said on Twitter. "Open burning will remain closed until we have a significant moisture event allowing safe burning."

Dutton said the current fire outlook is similar to what it was in 2007, when the Meriwether fire in the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Area grew 10,000 acres in one night.

The ban will take effect in Jefferson County on Friday. 

A Facebook post from Jefferson County states that the decision was made "due to deteriorating fuel conditions and forecasted weather conditions."

The open burn bans are related to burn permits and do not affect other types of burning, such as campfires. Jefferson County officials advised that campfires must be in a ring and a suitable source of extinguishing the fire must be available. 

"Remember if you light a fire, YOU are responsible for the suppression costs if it gets away," the Facebook post says. 

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Reporter at the Helena Independent Record.

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