Fireworks, fire safety reminders for Independence Day holiday weekend

Recent hot, dry weather in locations throughout Central Montana and the HiLine has resulted in increased fire danger. The Bureau of Land Management Central Montana Fire Zone, which provides wildfire-fighting support for the BLM’s Central Montana and the HiLine Districts, has reported five local fires have already occurred this year. The most recent fires are the Shed Coulee Fire in Phillips County and the Crooked Creek Fire in Petroleum County. Both occurred during June. “Many areas are drying out rapidly with the recent heat and some areas already have a high fuel load with this year’s grass and dried residual grasses from last year,” said BLM Central Montanan Fire Zone Fire Management Officer Brett Blumhardt. The BLM recommends members of the public follow a few simple rules to safely enjoy public lands over the Independence Day holiday weekend. The use and possession of fireworks, exploding targets and luminaries with open flame are prohibited on lands administered by the BLM and other federal agencies. Campfires and coals from charcoal grills should be put completely out after use. Avoid driving or riding through tall, dry grass, as hot exhaust systems and tailpipes can easily start a fire. Check that the spark arrestor on chainsaws and other equipment is attached and working before use. Remember, “One Less Spark means One Less Wildlfire.” For more information, check out the BLM Montana/Dakotas Fire Prevention Order at http://go.usa.gov/3vJXw. To report smoke or fire, call 911.

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