BILLINGS — Starting 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, burning in Yellowstone County will be restricted until fire conditions improve later in the season. Stage 1 fire restrictions were voted into effect by the Yellowstone County commission Tuesday.
"This is a correct move to do at this particular time, especially with the number of fires that are starting earlier this season, the weather conditions and all of the other factors that we look at when entering stage one," said KC Williams, Yellowstone County disaster and emergency services director.
Under stage one fire restrictions, people can not ignite or set a fire for slash-burning, land-clearing or debris-clearing. People can not have an open fire within the county on any residential or commercial property, forest range or croplands.
People who smoke must do so within an enclosed vehicle or building or developed recreation site with an area three feet in diameter that is cleared of flammable material.
Recreational or commercial fires are permitted if they are smaller than 48 inches in diameter and surrounded by a nonflammable structure and a source to extinguish the fire is visible.
Read the full restrictions by clicking here.
Williams advocated for the restrictions and said staff with the Montana Department Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and U.S. Bureau of Land Management agreed.
Williams said the state's online burn permit website will be turned off and he notified, state, federal, local firefighters of the restrictions.
Commissioner Denis Pitman said he sent copies of the fire restrictions to surrounding county commissions encouraging them to adopt similar restrictions on burning.
"It's always nice if they start following suit. To know that we're not just an island. That they should probably be looking at considering these options as well," Pitman said.