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Date:  April 20, 2009
Contact: 
Heather O’Hanlon  (406) 896-2836
                Ann Boucher (406) 896-5011                  

Think Before You Burn

Agricultural or debris burning is part of life when you live in rural communities of eastern Montana. For farmers and ranchers, burning often takes place during spring months. Cleaning up ditches, eliminating yard waste, or burning off weeds are just a few reasons why ranchers and farmers use fire on the land.

However, one escape of a burn can be costly and have serious ramifications. If a burn project impacts land that belongs to another private landowner or to a public land management agency, it can result in loss of grazing acres, loss of crop or animals, degradation of soil, invasion of weeds, erosion and run-off problems, and loss of income. In some cases, the person who started the escaped fire can be held responsible for the cost of suppressing the fire, monetary losses to neighboring landowners, and land rehabilitation costs.  

Before burning, call your local fire chief, fire warden or sheriff department to see what permits may be needed. Check the weather report. Remember, eastern Montana can be very windy! Make sure you have enough help to control the burn. Keep suppression tools handy. Arrange for water to be close by. If you can reach your burn area with a hose, keep the water line charged and ready to go.

For more information, contact your local fire warden or fire chief. Remember, think before you burn.

-BLM-