To go along with the closure of the Rims on Independence Day, Yellowstone County has announced the start of stage one fire restrictions due to an abundance of wildfire fuel. These restrictions carry hefty fines if not followed, so it may be a good idea to plan your parties with an open fire at a different time.

What do these restrictions actually restrict?

According to the Board of County Commissioners, Stage I Fire Restrictions impose the following:

  • Any fire that is not contained in non-flammable surroundings or one that cannot be controlled by turning gas on and off is prohibited.
  • Any smoking outdoors except within a vehicle or in a location that is specified as a smoking area and cleared of flammable material is prohibited.
  • No new fire permits are allowed.

Those with existing fire permits are allowed to burn for the purposes of land clearing or debris-burning, however. These restrictions are scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 2022, and no official date has been given to lift them. Fines for these restrictions can be as high as $10,000.

Last year, we struggled with wildfires in Montana.

Over 900,000 acres were burned due to wildfires in Montana last year. Probably the largest fire talked about was the Robertson Draw fire, which started on June 13 and continued until it was 100% contained in the middle of September. Nearly 30,000 acres were lost, and homes were evacuated. Luckily, we don't have anything that serious yet this year, but it's getting quite hot, so be careful out there.

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This Fourth of July, it's important now more than ever to be mindful of your environment and careful with fireworks and just fires in general. Let's make sure Montana stays beautiful this year.

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