County burning ban lifted by commissioners

VIRGINIA CITY – During a special meeting with the Madison County Director of Emergency Management Chris Mumme and Sheriff Dave Schenk in Virginia City on Thursday the Madison County Commissioners carried a motion to lift the Stage One burning restrictions outlined by Madison County Resolution 14-2012.

As of 12 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19 open burning is allowed on private property with a permit issued by the County. These permits can be obtained by contacting the treasurer’s office in Madison County at 843-4215, the sheriff’s office in Beaverhead County at 683-3700 or going online to www.burnpermits.mt.gov.

The previous restrictions prohibited the building, maintaining, attending or use of a fire or campfire except within an improved, designated recreation site and smoking anywhere outside an enclosed building or vehicle, developed recreation site or any area cleared of flammable materials at least three feet in diameter.

The restrictions affected private lands in Beaverhead and Madison Counties as well as lands managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.

Commissioner Dave Schulz pointed out the regular burning season has already been cut short this fall due to dry weather, and added that open burning is usually closed from the end of November through the end of February to preserve air quality. Schulz asked what landowners who need more time to burn should do, and Mumme explained that residents could submit a written request to the Department of Environmental Quality to extend the season on their burn permit.

“There is no question we’ve still got to keep a wary eye out,” said Mumme. “If you don’t have to burn, please don’t.”

Commissioner Dan Happel also made the motion to re-open the Revenue Flats Road to through traffic in light of recent cold, wet weather. The road was closed to the public in July due to extreme fire danger and extensive use by recreation enthusiasts from outside Madison County.

Happel’s motion was approved.

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