Jul 2, 2012 12:12 PM by Drew Trafton - Q2 News
BILLINGS - For only the fourth time in a little more than a decade, Yellowstone County has been placed under stage 2 fire restrictions.
Stage 2 restrictions are the most strict bans a county can apply, and include: a continuance on a ban on open flame (such as house fires) and a ban on smoking outdoors.
In addition, if you are in the county, you must observe the following rules between the hours of 1p.m. and 1 a.m. on a daily basis until the restrictions are lifted:
You may not use explosives (fireworks)
You may not use internal combustion engines (power tools)
You may not use an welding torch or any other torch with an open flame
You may not drive a motorized vehicle off road or off of a designated trail
At a special meeting Thursday afternoon, the Yellowstone County Commissioners enacted those restrictions.
The most contentious of those issues, the fireworks ban, was the only ban discussed, as firework stand owners touted a loss of potential business as a concern.
"A lot of us truly depend on this to put all of it together at the end of the year for our budgets," said one concerned stand owner.
And although the commissioners said they were sympathetic to the fireworks industry-- it was Montana's top business the commissioners said they needed to protect.
"We have the worst conditions we've had since 1934, the ag (agriculture) community came out in force and said their very livelihood is threatened-and we responded and I believe we responded appropriately," said Yellowstone County Commissioner John Ostlund of the ban.
Click on the video link above to see more from this meeting and concerns stand owners have about the ban.
Although individuals will not be allowed to use fireworks, county officials suggest those people can attend the various produced shows being held throughout the community.
We'll have more details about those shows in coming days.Yellowstone County is not alone in updating to stage 2 restrictions and fireworks bans.
Here is a list of nearby counties participating:
Stillwater Country - Stage 2, fireworks banned
Carbon County - Stage 2 on Friday, fireworks banned
Big Horn County - Stage 1, fireworks banned
Wheatland County - Stage 1, fireworks banned
Sweet Grass County - Stage 2, fireworks banned
Treasure County - Stage 1, fireworks banned
Custer County - Stage 2, fireworks banned
Musselshell County - Stage 2, fireworks banned