With the continuing hot and dry conditions, Stage 2 fire restrictions are still in effect on private, state and federal lands in Big Horn, Carbon, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure and Yellowstone counties.
Also due to fire danger, Shepherd Ah Nei and South Hills recreation areas near Billings are closed to motorized use, and the 17-Mile area is closed to target shooting.
Under Stage 2, all campfires are prohibited. Smoking is allowed only 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. Stage 2 also prohibits the operation of any internal combustion engine, welding or operating a torch with open flame, and using explosives from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. A two-hour patrol following cessation of work is required. Additionally, motorized vehicles must stay on designated roads.
Exemptions include fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG, or other activities for which there is a permit or written authorization. Yellowstone and Stillwater counties have also exempted activities associated with harvesting and other agricultural operations, but encourage farmers and ranchers to keep equipment in good working order to prevent sparks, provide spark arrestors, and carry firefighting tools.
Aan exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity. Anyone who causes a wildland fire intentionally or through negligence will be held accountable for damage and suppression costs.
To report wildfires, call 911, a fire department, or the Billings Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 896-2900.