Sweet Grass County enters Stage II fire restriction

Sweet Grass County entered a Stage II fire restriction on Aug. 30, through the cooperation of county commissioners and other agencies.

Continuing hot and dry weather have made conditions even more severe and could prompt more fires within the county. 

Currently, more than 130 firefighters are working to put out the Mendenhall Fire, which has eaten up about 1,275 acres of land in western Sweet Grass County, burning along West Boulder Road. That fire was 70 percent contained as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

Under Stage II fire restrictions, the building, maintaining, attending or using of a fire or campfire is strictly prohibited. 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 is also prohibited.

Between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1 a.m., the use of internal combustion engines, welding or operating acetylene or other torches with open flames or the use of explosives is prohibited as well. 

A one-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following the cessation of the activities listed in the previous paragraph. 

Sweet Grass County joins 18 other Montana counties which are in Stage II restrictions. Park County, just west of Sweet Grass County, was the latest and final county to enter a Stage I restriction. Every county in Montana is now under a restriction. 

PHOTO CAPTION: A slice of land burnt by the Mendenhall Fire on Aug. 29. (STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD / Big Timber Pioneer)




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