HELENA – Fire dangers have prompted the Bureau of Land Management to issue an order of the temporarily closing its North Hills area to shooting.

The order temporarily prohibits the discharge of firearms in the North Hills area 10 miles northeast of Helena, effective on July 8 until further notice.

On Tuesday a fire was reported in the area which officials believe was shooting related. The fire burned a reported 3 1/2 acres in the North Hills.

“Normally we see several of these shooting-related fires every season, though usually not until later in July,” said Scott, field manager for the Butte Field Office. “This year, we’ve already had one fire and need to take steps now to prevent additional ignitions. Though we’re always reluctant to issue restrictions, the fire potential in the North Hills warrants taking this extra precaution.”

Story continues below

The access to the BLM’s property is still open to the public for other recreational activities, the Fire Prevention Order only applies to shooting firearms.

“I anticipate being able to lift the restriction sometime early in the fall or when weather conditions change,” Haight said.

Affected areas include:

Township 12 North, Range 2 West, Sections 19 & 30 and Township 12 North, Range 3 West, Sections 13, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 34, & 35

*Any person who knowingly and willfully violates this Fire Prevention Order may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined no more than $1,000, imprisoned for no more than 12 months, or both. Such violations may also be subject to the enhanced fines provided for by 18 U.S.C. 3571.