All burning prohibited in Cascade County until further notice due to high fire danger

All open burning activity has been halted in Cascade County until further noticed due to increased fire danger, according to the state’s burn permit website.

Even if you have a valid burn permit, all burning is prohibited throughout the county due to increased fire danger.

Camp fires that are less than 48 inches in diameter do not require a burn permit and are currently allowed in Cascade County, according to BEFD.

Jason McAllister, chief of Vaughn Fire and Rescue Volunteer Fire Department said that the restriction also does not apply to burn barrels.

McAllister said rural fire chiefs in the area are monitoring fire conditions and if the situation changes, they can make the decision to implement more strict fire restrictions. He said that normally they like to get at least three area fire chiefs to agree to make that kind of decision, but if any area fire chiefs express concern they’ll consider implementing fire restrictions.

McAllister said they don’t like to limit firework usage and generally try to stay away from that issue, but the Fourth of July is always a busy weekend for rural fire departments.

Fourth of July festivities are approaching, make sure you know the rules in Great Falls

The decision was made as a coordinated effort between multiple rural fire departments, including Vaughn, Black Eagle and Gore Hill fire departments.

Updates can be found here.

On Friday, Black Eagle FD raised the fire danger level to high fire danger.

The change was made due to the following factors, according to BEFD:

  • Fine fuels are drying out and drying out fast. Grasses and weeds are turning already.
  • Lack of moisture. With the Weather forecasters calling for no moisture in the foreseeable future this will compound the fire danger.
  • Temperature. High temperatures and low humidity. According to BEFD, when humidity gets below 20 percent, “we start to see what we would call extreme fire behavior which basically means that fire burn fast, hot and can be unpredictable.”
  • Wind. “What would Montana be without wind. Unfortunately this is the last straw in a trifecta of conditions that cause extreme fire behavior,” according to BEFD. 

“Mash all of this together and add in the component of fireworks and you have the makings of a horrible day in terms of fire suppression and prevention,” BEFD posted to their Facebook page on Friday. “Now this doesn’t mean that we don’t want people to enjoy the holiday or partake in the joy of fireworks. We just want people to be aware of the dangers involved.”