BILLINGS - Citing an early wildland fire season compounded by abundant spring moisture that has led to above-average growth of fuels such as grasses, the Yellowstone County commissioners passed a resolution enacting Stage 1 fire restrictions on Tuesday.
The resolution prohibits open burning and takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. It will remain in place until the commission rescinds the order, according to the resolution.
Among the restrictions under the Stage 1 designation, residents are prohibited from smoking outdoors 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.
Fires such as slash-burning, land-clearing, and debris-burning require a permit or official written permission, the resolution states.
Violators face fines of up to $5,000 individually or $10,000 for an organization and up to six months in jail.