GREAT FALLS — With continuing hot and dry weather condition, two more counties have implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions: Fergus County and Sheridan County. These restrictions will begin on Friday, July 16, at 12:01 a.m. and apply to all state, private and federal lands within these counties.
The Lewistown Area Fire Restriction Interagency Group announced the additions on Wednesday, July 14.
On July 2, Stage 1 restrictions were ordered for all private, state, and BLM lands within Chouteau, Golden Valley, Petroleum, Phillips and Valley counties.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lands on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge within Fergus, Petroleum, Phillips and Valley counties will remain in Stage I restrictions. The Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest implemented fire restrictions across most of the forest on Friday, July 9. Burn bans are in effect for the Fort Belknap Reservation, Fort Peck Reservation, and Blaine, Daniels, Hill, and Roosevelt counties.
These restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.
Under Stage I, the following acts are prohibited:
- Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, except within an established metal fire ring within designated, developed campground or recreation site.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed campground/recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
Exemptions for Stage I restrictions:
- Persons with written permits that specifically authorize the otherwise act.
- Persons using a device solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off. Such devices can only be used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet of the device.
- Persons conducting activities in those designated area where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
- Any federal, state or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
- All land within a city boundary is exempted.
- Other exemptions unique to each agency/tribe.
The Lewistown Area Fire Restriction Interagency Group urges people to recreate responsibly – don’t drive or park on dry grass, know current restrictions, use existing fire rings, always keep any eye on your fire, bring the right tools, and put it out completely before you leave. Have fun outdoors, be respectful, and stay safe.
Earlier on Wednesday, Governor Greg Gianforte declared a wildland fire state of emergency for Montana; click here for details.
For more information, visit the MTFireInfo.org website.