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Stage One fire restrictions announced for Great Falls

Posted at 7:50 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 19:22:41-05

GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jeremy Jones on Tuesday announced that Stage One fire restrictions will go into effect throughout the City of Great Falls and surrounding areas protected by GFFR on Thursday, December 16, 2021.

Jones said in a news release that the restrictions are due to the "continuation of high fire danger from the combination of continuous dry conditions, lack of measurable precipitation, and the amount of recent wildland fires."

Jones said: “Public safety is our number one priority. Stage One Fire Restrictions in the City and County will help protect our City and surrounding communities during the current high fire conditions,” stated Chief Jones. Fire conditions within the City of Great Falls and surrounding areas will be reviewed and reassessed weekly to determine when to lift the restrictions.

The Official Code of the City of Great Falls allows for:
8.48.020 – Conditions allowing restrictions.
A. The City Manager or designee, in consultation with the Fire Chief, may restrict by written finding all outdoor residential open or closed burning on any of the following conditions:

  • 1. The Cascade County Commission has established fire restrictions pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-33-2212, as may be amended;
  • 2. Open burning would be inconsistent with a local air pollution control program established pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 75-2-301, as may be amended;
  • 3. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an unhealthy, very unhealthy, or hazardous air quality warning for all or a portion of Cascade County;
  • 4. There exists, an active wild or structural fire within Cascade County that poses a potential threat to properties located within the incorporated City limits; or
  • 5. There exist, other conditions, in the judgment of the Fire Chief, that create a danger to persons or property, if outdoor burning continues or is allowed.
  • B. The City Manager or designee shall make a written finding determining that residential outdoor burning shall be restricted. Said finding shall describe the condition or conditions warranting the restrictions.

Under Stage One Restrictions:

  • 1. Open burning is prohibited.
  • 2. No Open burning of any kind within the City of Great Falls or protected areas.
  • 3. Smoking is permitted ONLY within an enclosed vehicle, inside a building, or in an area where at least three feet in diameter is cleared of all flammable materials.
  • 4. Campers are ONLY allowed to cook using a device that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels and can be turned on and off.
  • 5. All Fireworks are prohibited. All exploding targets (available for sale to recreational shooters) are also considered a pyrotechnic product and are also prohibited.
  • 6. Persons using charcoal briquettes are allowed ONLY on private property in a “backyard” barbeque located in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.

Cascade County declared a fire emergency and enacted Stage One fire restrictions on December 3, 2021.