Madison County bans open burning; small fires in Big Sky Fire District still allowed

EBS Staff

Due to extreme fire danger, on July 25 the Board of Madison County Commissioners, in cooperation with the Madison County Fire Warden and all local fire chiefs, confirmed an open burning ban effective at 12 a.m. on July 26, on private property in Madison County. The ban will remain in effect through 12 a.m. Sept. 30.

The Big Sky Fire District is exempt from this Madison County open burning ban, however properties within the BSFD are subject to a ban on fires larger than 48 inches in diameter throughout the rest of the summer. Fires smaller than 48 inches, which do not require burn permits, are still allowed in Big Sky.

“The assessment of conditions in the Big Sky area is always on-going and if conditions warrant it, we will request a burn ban is put in place for all fires in this area,” said BSFD Fire Chief William Farhat. “As of this time we are not close to that threshold.”

For properties outside of the BSFD, but within Madison County, the open burning ban is equivalent to Stage I restrictions, and restricts open burning of any kind, as well as the use of fireworks. 

Federal Lands are not included in the Madison County burn ban. Much of eastern and western Montana have entered into fire restrictions. Visit visit https://firerestrictions.us/mt for a complete list of the restrictions currently in place around the state. 

Mountain biker dies at Big Sky Resort

EBS STAFF

As of EBS press time on Aug. 2, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office had not provided the findings of the coroner’s investigation into the death of 18-year-old Tanner Noble on July 24. Noble collapsed while riding his mountain bike at Big Sky Resort. 

According to a press release from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Big Sky Ski Patrol responded to the scene and continued life-saving efforts that had already been initiated.

A flight nurse with REACH Air Medical Services continued life-saving efforts on Noble in a Big Sky Fire Department ground ambulance. Noble was transported to Big Sky Medical Center.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation and Sgt. Brandon Kelly said it could be anywhere from one day to one week from the incident before the medical examiner completed the investigation to determine cause of death. However, the cause of death was not available Aug. 2, nine days after the incident.

Study: Outdoor recreation in Montana grows to $7.1 billion in consumer spending annually

OFFICE OF GOV. STEVE BULLOCK

Gov. Steve Bullock announced growth to Montana’s outdoor recreation economy and touted Montana’s public lands, outdoor economy, and high quality of life during the Outdoor Industry Association Trade Show.

“Our public lands are our birthright, our heritage, our great equalizer and so much more. Protecting our public lands is not only an investment in our economy but in our way of life,” Bullock said on July 26. “Outdoor recreationists know this is an investment that will pay off for generations to come, and together, we will always remain committed to keeping public lands in public hands for our kids and grandkids.” ​​

According to the OIA report released July 26, outdoor recreation in Montana generates $7.1 billion in consumer spending annually and supports 71,000 direct jobs. This results in $2.2 billion in wages and salaries, and contributes $286 million in state and local tax revenue. These numbers are up from previous studies released by OIA.

According to the report, 81 percent of Montana’s 1.04 million residents participate in outdoor recreation each year, and 7,800 jobs in Montana are sustained by hunting and fishing in comparison to 7,000 jobs that depend on mining and logging.

Speaking to approximately 1,000 outdoor manufacturers and retailers, Governor Bullock touted the importance of public lands to the overall economy and to the quality of life of Montanans and Americans.

“Outdoor recreation is the economy of the future and we are fortunate to live in a nation of iconic beauty, inspiring landscapes and bountiful waters,” Bullock said.

Yellowstone Club Community Foundation announces $160,000 in community grants

YELLOWSTONE CLUB COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation announced spring 2017 grants totaling $160,000 distributed among 25 local nonprofits. 

The grants have reinforced the foundation’s focus on education, arts and culture, healthcare, conservation, and community services.

Each year, the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, with the aid of the foundation’s largest recurring gift, distributes more than 30,000 KidsPacks filled with healthy food to help children through the weekend.

Summer arts highlights include the Big Sky Conservatory, a project of Warren Miller Performing Arts Center that bring world-class performing artists to Big Sky to train young people and adults from the region and elsewhere.

“Through the support of the Yellowstone Club Community Foundation, we are able to keep tuition prices affordable, serve our local community in an impactful and holistic manner, and maintain our brand of fostering the best artistry in the world,” said John Zirkle, artistic director of the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.

The foundation also sponsors the Big Sky Classical Music Festival, a program of the Arts Council of Big Sky that offers a free concert by the Big Sky Festival Orchestra in Town Center Park on Aug. 13, at 5 p.m.

In the fall, Big Brothers Big Sisters is returning to Big Sky’s public schools with the renewed support of the foundation. 

The foundation stages three annual fundraisers, the summer Weiskopf Cup golf event, the March Wine and Song Benefit, and the New Year’s Eve “Name That Run” auction on New Year’s Eve.

Since its inception in 2010, the foundation has provided more than $3 million to local nonprofits through grants, scholarships, and sponsorships.