VIRGINIA CITY – At their regular meeting in Virginia City on Tuesday, Madison County Commissioners voted to close the Revenue Flats area west and south of Norris due to extreme fire danger in the area.
The motion came after the board met with local landowners who voiced their concern about the high traffic through the area to access a popular section of Bureau of Land Management land. Many people from outside Madison County frequent the Revenue Flats area for recreational activities such as driving four-wheelers, shooting guns and camping. The area is also popular among younger, college-age people from Gallatin County looking to for a place to throw parties, property owners told commissioners.
Local landowners worried that this high-level of activity presents an unnecessary risk for wildfires, and out-of-county residents don’t appreciate risks they pose. Jerry and Karlette Bausch of Norris explained that the cattle they raise in the area are their livelihood, and a wildfire would be devastating to local residents.
“We’re the only ones that are going to get the brunt of it,” Karlette Bausch said. “These kids coming in there partying and doing whatever, they could care less.”
“The only reason we’ve got a bunch of cows up there right now is because we don’t have some other place to go,” said Jerry Bausch. “We wouldn’t have them up there, its so dang dry, if we had some place else to put them.”
The closure affects the area south and west of the Sterling Road to the junction of North Meadow Creek Road.
The road will remain open to local property owners and for emergency use only. For more information on current fire restrictions in the area, visit madison.homestead.com.