HAVRE, Mont. (NMB) – With extremely hot and dry weather lingering on the Hi-Line, the Hill County Commissioners have unanimously voted to implement a burn ban, beginning at 12:01 AM Friday morning.
This bans open burning, which is defined as a fire where any material is burned on the ground or in an open receptacle other than a furnace, incinerator, or other equipment connected to a stack or chimney. Open burning includes yard debris, brush, construction debris, and more.
“We are just trying to prevent anything catastrophic,” Hill County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Amanda Frickel says. “With the temperatures that are going to soar and be as high as they have been, and the fact that we are at zero moisture coming in, it’s kind of a dangerous thing. It’s not just fireworks that make it dangerous right now, it’s any kind of open burning, it’s any type of machinery, that kind of thing. We’re looking at a higher risk just due to the fact that the temperatures are soaring, that is also fuel for a fire. Even green grass burns pretty fast, too. What we’re trying to do is just stay ahead of the game and be proactive as far as not allowing open burning or burning permits or any unnecessary burning right now. That’s what the ban is for.”
Fire Districts in Hill County are prohibited from issuing permits, and permits previously issued cannot be activated during a burn ban. Exceptions include recreational camp fires in established fire pits or commercial fire rings, as well as propane barbecues.
“What we’re saying is you can still go camping, you can still have your fire, but it needs to be in a fire pit,” says Frickel. “It needs to be somewhere where it can be extinguished at a rapid pace. And it needs to be monitored.”
Fireworks remain allowed in many areas of Hill County, but officials urge extreme caution to prevent fires from starting.
“Just be aware, be super diligent with your fireworks,” says Frickel. “Do it safely…Making sure you have water, extinguishers, being safe about it, and being respectful.”
Fireworks are always prohibited at Beaver Creek Park. Violation of the ordinance regarding this rule can result in legal action such as fines, a misdemeanor, and accountability for damages caused.
The city of Havre has their own ordinance regarding fireworks. Fireworks may be discharged July 2nd-4th from 8 AM to midnight. Skyrockets, Roman Candles and Bottle Rockets are excluded as well as any other fireworks not allowed by the State of Montana.