GREAT FALLS – Large plumes of smoke just north of Great Falls have some people worried about a wildfire.
The fire is actually a prescribed burn underway near the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge off of Bootlegger Trail, according to the Black Eagle Volunteer Fire Department.
Click here to visit the Burn Permit website to check on the current status and location of scheduled burns.
Controlled burns in Cascade County are issued to limit the amount of time volunteers spend responding to non-emergency calls and instead allows them to focus on true emergencies.
Permits also help the county track the locations for approved burns so emergency personnel can more easily determine whether smoke or fire is an emergency.
According to Cascade County, a person must have enough water, hand tools/equipment, and people to keep the fire under control.
If a person does not activate a burn permit before burning, the fire department may respond even though the fire is under control.
If the fire escapes control, a person may be cited and fined and may have to pay the cost of suppression and any damages caused to another person’s property.
Burn permits are legally allowed on private land in Cascade County and Neihart with a county permit. Burning is not allowed in Great Falls or Belt. There is no burning allowed in Cascade unless approved by the Town Council.
For more information about Cascade County burn permits, or to check on scheduled burns currently underway, visit the county’s website or contact the Clerk and Recorder’s Office at 454-6801.
Reporting by David Sherman for MTN News