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Open debris burning closed for most of Lewis and Clark County

Posted at 2:55 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 11:22:07-04

HELENA – Open debris burning in Lewis and Clark County, with the exception of Augusta, is closed for the foreseeable future.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office decided to close open burning after a request by rural fire chiefs.

Tri-Lake Fire Chief Bob Drake said with the plentiful amount of fine fuels, hotter temperatures, and dry weather, it’s time to close burning.

“We’re at the point where everything is curing,” said Drake. “We have tons of brown fuels out there right now just ready for a spark.”

In the past week, the rural fire districts responded to several calls for permitted burns that grew out of control.

“What the fires getting away from people tells us is that the conditions are there for the fires to get big,” said Drake.

LCSO Captain Brent Colbert told MTN it is not only illegal to burn debris once it’s been closed, it can be dangerous for everyone in the area.

“We need to make sure we’re doing it safe even when it is open,” noted Colbert. “The weather can change and you can cause a lot of damage and put people in danger if you’re not careful with what you’re doing.”

Drake echoed the sentiment adding the last thing a person wants to do is destroy their neighbor’s house or have a fire get out of hand.

Campfires are still allowed, but officials stress that people need to make sure their campfires are cold to the touch before they leave. People should never leave their campfires unattended for any reason.

-Reported by John Riley/MTN News