Courtesy: Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

LEWISTOWN  –  The Bureau of Land Management Fire announced Wednesday that restrictions have been ordered for several Montana counties in the north central part of the state.

The long, hot days of summer are drying out the vegetation in the area. Resulting in increased fire danger and prompting authorities to begin implementing fire restrictions.

Blaine, Roosevelt, Sheridan and Valley counties will begin Stage 1 fire restrictions starting Friday.

The restrictions apply to all state, private, BLM and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands within the counties. All U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed lands within the counties will not implement fire restrictions at this time.

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Additionally, representatives from Fort Belknap Indian Reservation elected to enter into Stage 1 fire restrictions for all tribal lands within the Fort Belknap Reservation, which is located in both Blaine and Phillips counties.

The FWP Region 6 office has elected to ban all campfires from fishing access sites except for the Bear Paw Lake fishing access site in Hill County.

The BLM says Stage 1 fire restrictions apply to campfires and smoking.

Under Stage 1 restrictions include:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site, fire ring or improved site.
  • Smoking, except 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.

Exemptions to the above Stage 1 prohibitions include the following:

  • Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited 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 three feet of the device.
  • Persons conducting activities in those designated areas 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/jurisdiction.

The BLM also stressed that fireworks are illegal on all state and federal lands. They are considered a pyrotechnic product and are banned all year.

If anyone causes a wildfire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.

For additional information on fire restrictions, visit the fire restrictions website here.