The welcome arrival of fall with its cooler temperatures and moderate precipitation has helped ease the effects of this year’s fire season in the central Montana area.  After a very long and dry summer, additional moisture is still needed to help reduce the chance of a large wildfire occurring.  

Fire restrictions are an important tool to help prevent wildfires.  Weekly restrictions meetings are held with county, state and federal land managers along with the National Weather Service to discuss forecasted weather, including precipitation and winds as well as the current fire danger.  It’s important to understand that fire restrictions may be different based on the land status of where you currently are.

Fergus County Fire Restrictions apply to all private lands within the boundary of Fergus County.  The Montana Department of Resources and Conservation – Northeastern Land Office (MT-DNRC NELO) Fire Restrictions apply to all State lands within the boundaries set forth usually designated by counties.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – Lewistown Field Office Fire Restrictions apply to all lands managed by the BLM including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument and Bankhead Jones Farm Tenant Act lands.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge also manages lands within Fergus County and has a separate Fire Restriction status.  The Lewis and Clark National Forest – Judith and Musselshell Ranger Districts encompass lands in Fergus County and have separate Fire Restrictions as well.

Fergus County, MT-DNRC and the BLM remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions until 12:00 am, Thursday, September 28th.  The county, MT-DNRC and the BLM will transition to Stage 1 Fire Restrictions at 12:01 am on Friday, September 29th.  The Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge will rescind all restrictions at that same time.

Fire Restrictions as of September 29th at 12:01 am:

Land Status

Agency

Restrictions Status

All Private Land

Fergus County

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

State Lands

MT – DNRC NELO

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Bureau of Land Management, Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument-Bankhead Jones Land

BLM – Lewistown Field Office

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

National Forest Land

U.S.F.S – Lewis and Clark NF, Judith and Musselshell Ranger Districts

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Charles M. Russell NWR

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – C.M. Russell NWR

No Restrictions

 

Under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, the following actions are prohibited:

Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within an established, metal fire ring in a developed recreation site or improved site.

Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed, designated recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

EXEMPTIONS: Only the following exemptions to the above prohibitions are allowed for this special order:

  • Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
  • Persons using a fire 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 areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted permit.
  • A 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.

*An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.

For additional information on fire restrictions, visit the fire restrictions website at www.firerestrictions.us or contact Shannon Bonney, Lewistown Area Restrictions Coordinator, at (406) 538-1942.

Source: Cathy Barta
Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator

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