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Montana/Dakotas State Office
Release Date: 09/26/12
Contacts: Ann Boucher, 406-896-5255    

Extreme Fire Danger Persists

Due to extreme fire danger, hunters and other outdoor recreationists are reminded to take extra caution.

Some general tips to avoid starting new fires:

  • Drive only designated roads.
  •  Avoid roads with tall vegetation in the middle track.
  •  Never park over dry grass or other vegetation.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher—or water-filled weed sprayer—shovel, axe, and, a cell phone for communications in addition to other outdoor safety gear.
  • Restrict camping activities to designated camping areas.
  • Do not build campfires.
  • Smoke only inside buildings or vehicles.
  • Report a fire immediately if you come upon one.
  • Have a personal action plan in mind should you need to evacuate the area.

This year is one of the driest on record. As of Sept. 24, Billings has had 40 consecutive days without measurable precipitation and daytime temperatures are still summer-like.

This is also one of the most active fire years. So far this year, 2,869 fires have burned 1.35 million acres across the Northern Rockies. Over the past few days, numerous human cased fires have been reported. Please use caution when enjoying the outdoors.

Fire Restrictions and Closures in Effect

Stage 2 fire restrictions are still in effect on private, state and federal lands in Big Horn, Carbon, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure and Yellowstone counties.

Also due to fire danger, Shepherd Ah Nei and South Hills recreation areas near Billings are closed to motorized use. These closures are for public safety and will be reopened as soon as possible. Call 406-896-5014 for an automated message with the latest information.

Under Stage 2, all campfires are prohibited. Smoking is allowed only within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. Stage 2 also prohibits the operation of any internal combustion engine, welding or operating a torch with open flame, and using explosives from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. A two-hour patrol following cessation of work is required. Additionally, motorized vehicles must stay on designated roads.


Exemptions include fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG, or other activities for which there is a permit or written authorization. Carbon, Yellowstone and Stillwater counties have also exempted activities associated with harvesting and other agricultural operations. However, it is critical to keep equipment in good working order, provide spark arrestors, carry firefighting tools, and, if possible, have water available.

An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity. Anyone who causes a wildland fire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.

Report Fires

To report wildfires, call 911, your local fire department, or the Billings Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 896-2900

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 09-26-2012