Stage 1 fire restrictions will go into effect within a portion of the Lewistown Fire Restrictions Area, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 10, 2012. These restrictions apply to all private, state, and BLM-managed lands in Chouteau and Judith Basin counties.

U.S. Forest Service managed lands in the Big and Little Snowy Mountains and the Little Belt Mountains are not under fire restrictions.

These restrictions will remain in effect until rescinded.

Under Stage 1, the following acts are prohibited:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, except within an established, metal fire ring in a developed recreation site.
    • Approved campfire locations:
      • Chouteau County – Fort Benton Motorboat Launch; Fort Benton Canoe Launch; Wood Bottom; The Wall; Slaughter River; Seineurs Reach; Pablo Rapids; Little Sandy; Judith Landing; Hole-in-the-Wall; and Evan’s Bend
  • Smoking, 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.

Exemptions to the above prohibitions are allowed for persons using a fire solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG; for a federal, state, or local officer, or member of an organized law enforcement, rescue, or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty; or persons with a permit or written authorization allowing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.

Other counties and agencies are currently in fire restrictions within the Lewistown Fire Restrictions Area. These include:

  • Blaine County – Stage 1 for all private, state and BLM-managed lands.
  • Daniels – Stage 1 for all private and state lands.
  • Golden Valley County – Stage 2 for all private and state, this includes all Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Fishing Access Sites within the county. BLM-managed lands remain in Stage 1.
  • Fergus – Stage 1 for all private, state and BLM-managed lands.
  • Petroleum – Stage 1 for all private, state and BLM-managed lands.
  • Wheatland – Stage 1 for all private, state and BLM-managed lands. Stage 2 for all Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Fishing Access Sites
  • Fort Belknap Indian Reservation – Stage 1 for all lands with the reservation boundary in Blaine and Phillips County
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge – Stage 1 for all lands within the refuge boundary.

Even the smallest spark has the potential to cause significant damage, so please do your part to prevent wildfires: crush cigarettes dead out and never leave a campfire unattended. Take precautions while recreating on public lands by always carrying a shovel, bucket and fire extinguisher. Make sure your campfire is dead out before leaving your campsite.

The Lewistown Area Restrictions Group includes representatives from state, county, local, tribal and federal firefighting entities and coordinates fire restrictions on federal, state and private lands in the Lewistown Fire Restrictions Area, which includes the following counties: Blaine, Chouteau, Daniels, Fergus, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Petroleum, Phillips, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley and Wheatland.

For more information, please contact the Bureau of Land Management at 406-538-1991; C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge at 538-8706; Lewis and Clark National Forest at 406-791-7700; Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation at 406-538-7789; your local office of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks or your local fire department or sheriff’s office.

Because restrictions can vary across the region, it’s important that you know before you go. For up-to-date fire restrictions information, please go to www.firerestrictions.us/mt.

Logo courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

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