Richland County officials have declared the county to be in Stage 1 Restrictions for burning. The restrictions went into effect on April 7.
The state of Montana is experiencing a drought and some counties in the eastern portion of the state are in severe drought. Richland County is one of those counties. The county is currently placed in Stage D3, or Extreme Drought. Areas listed as D3 can expect to see heavy crop losses and water shortages or restrictions could also occur.
According to Richland County Disaster and Emergency Services, State 1 restrictions include:
A person can not ignite or set fire, including a slash-burning fire, land-clearing fire, debris-burning fire, or open fire within Richland County on any residential property, commercial property, forest, range, or cropland WITHOUT having first obtained an official burn permit from Richland County. Burn permits may be obtained at https://app.mt.gov/burnpermit/
After obtaining a Burn Permit, you still have to follow the posted regulations on the permit website. These will state whether you can burn that day or not, even with a permit.
A person who intentionally ignites or sets a fire as stated above in the areas stated above, without having first obtained a burn permit will be guilty of a misdemeanor as well as reimburse the county or protection agency for costs incurred for any fire suppression activities resulting from the illegal fire.
Along with the above restrictions, Richland County Emergency Services and the Richland County Fire Department are also encouraging residents to take additional precautions, including:
Do not throw your cigarette butts out of car windows or on the ground. These start fires extremely easy in these conditions
When operating in dry land or a field, we encourage to have a water source with a pump nearby or following to quickly extinguish any fire that starts.
Drink lots of water when out. Bring water with when recreating. Hot and dry conditions dehydrate your body quickly.
Do not start a fire. Current restrictions prohibit starting a fire almost anywhere. These can ignite surrounding fuels and become a wildfire very quickly.
Be careful when discharging a firearm in rural areas. Do not use Tannerite or any exploding targets. Do not shoot steel plates or any items that are in or around grass that can burn.
It is not yet known if the recent precipitation will have an effect on either the Stage 1 burn restriction or the D3 Drought status.