Babete Anderson, 406-657-6205 ext. 239
Cooler fall weather has prompted land managers to ease or lift fire restrictions in portions of south-central Montana.
Effective 12:01 a.m. on Thurs., Sept. 13, fire restrictions will be rescinded in Big Horn County as well as the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. At the same time, private, state and federal lands in Carbon, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure and Yellowstone counties will ease from Stage II to Stage I restrictions.
In addition, the Bureau of Land Management will re-open the Shepherd Ah Nei, South Hills and Acton areas that had been closed to motorized vehicles due to fire danger.
Under Stage I, campfires are prohibited, and smoking is allowed only in areas cleared of flammable materials. Exemptions include fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG, or other activities for which there is a permit or written authorization.
Despite the cooler weather and scattered rain showers, fire danger persists. Please be cautious when working and recreating outdoors: make sure chainsaws and vehicles have spark arresters in place; stop and park only in areas cleared of vegetation; ensure that your campfire is dead out before you leave; and always carry a shovel, bucket and fire extinguisher. Also remember that cross-country travel is not allowed on most federal and state lands. Anyone who causes a wildland fire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.
A burn permit is still required for any open burning other than campfires in designated areas. Additional restrictions may also exist in certain areas. Before burning such things as slash piles, ditches, or fields, please contact your local fire department or sheriff’s office for more information and to obtain any necessary permits.
For more information about fire prevention, please contact the Custer National Forest at 406-657-6200; Bureau of Land Management at 406-896-5013; Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation at 406-247-4400; Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks at 406-247-2940; Carbon County at 406-446-1595; Musselshell County at 406-323-1402;Stillwater County at 406-321-0204; Sweet Grass County at 406-932-5143; Yellowstone County at 256-2775; or your local fire department or sheriff’s office.