Due to the recent high temperatures and strong winds, the Big Sky area has become quite dry and thus can readily burn with even the smallest spark or ember. With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, the Big Sky Fire Department strongly urges that people not use fireworks this year as the chance for a fire is great and with the large wildland fires currently occurring in Montana and throughout the West, there are limited resources to address a fire should one occur.

On June 26 the Madison County Commissioners enacted a burn ban on all private property in Madison County due to extreme fire danger. This includes the Mountain Village areas of Big Sky, Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and the Yellowstone Club.

Any exceptions to this ban will be considered on a case by case basis and must be approved in writing by your local Fire Chief and the Board of Commissioners.

These restrictions include:

· Use of campfires and grills are prohibited on all private camp grounds within Madison County. This includes developed campsites and campgrounds.

· Use of explosives is prohibited.

· Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

· Operating a chainsaw, or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine, is prohibited between 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. During acceptable hours, have 5-10-foot clearance around generators and other internal combustible engines.

· Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame is prohibited.

· Discharging a firearm, air rifle or gas gun is prohibited except while engaged in a lawful hunt

The use of petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices is allowed, providing such devices meet the fire underwriter’s specifications for safety.

In the Gallatin County portions of Big Sky (the Meadow Village and Gallatin Canyon areas), a burn ban is in place for all non-recreational fires. Recreational fires are strongly discouraged, but if you chose to have one, we recommend that:

1) They remain small, in a purpose built fire ring.

2) Water, shovels and other extinguishing materials are readily at hand. Remember, a fire is not completely out unless it’s cool enough to put your hand on, so please be sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame.

The Gallatin National Forest is in Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, which creates the following restrictions in the forests and campgrounds around Big Sky:

1) Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire are prohibited unless at a developed or designated recreation sites or campgrounds in agency provided metal fire ring. Fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels may be used anywhere on National Forest System lands during Stage 1 fire restrictions.

2) 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. This exception also includes improved places of habitation, developed designated recreation sites or campgrounds.

For more information about the GNF restrictions, please go to their webpage at fs.usda.gov/detailfull/gallatin/home/?cid=stelprdb5376995&width=full

Thank you very much for your assistance in this critical issue for our community. If there are any questions, please contact the Big Sky Fire Department at (406) 995-2100.

Best regards,

William G. Farhat, Chief

Big Sky Fire Department