Fireworks prohibited on Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest

Forest Service offices closed on Fourth of July and start summer hours

 

As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest reminds visitors that fireworks are prohibited on all Federal lands, including Forest Service; however, there are many other activities that people can do on the Forest.

 “There are all sorts of ways to enjoy the Forest: camping, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, fishing, to name just a few,” Kathy Bushnell, public affairs officer, said. “We want people to get outside, explore and have fun; we just want them to be aware of the rules and stay safe while they’re out there.”

Fireworks—and the possession of fireworks—are prohibited on National Forest System lands; instead, folks are encouraged to attend the variety of community-hosted events for Fourth of July activities. While exploring the national forest, though, visitors are asked to be very careful with fire. If camping, be sure never to leave your campfire unattended, and make sure it’s dead out before leaving your site.

 “Current conditions are typical for this time of year, with some areas being a little drier than others,” Bushnell said. “Based on the weather forecast that is calling for several hot days in a row, the finer fuels—like grasses—will dry out faster and could ignite easier from a spark of some kind. So, just be careful with campfires, equipment and even trailer chains which could create a spark by dragging on the ground.”

Before you head for the hills, here are a few general tips for a fun and safe recreational experience:

• Fireworks and possession of fireworks on National Forest System lands is prohibited (36 CFR 261.52(f)) and could cost violators up to $330 in fines.

• Make sure to have a forest map and tell someone where you plan to be while in the forest.

• Always check weather conditions before heading out to the Forest. Carry enough food, water, extra clothes and gear that you may need.

• There are many patches of dead trees throughout the Forest, so be aware of your surroundings while in the forest. Place tents and park vehicles in areas where trees cannot fall on them.

• Obey all off-highway motorized travel laws and regulations when exploring the forest on ATVs or other OHV equipment. 

• Remember to pack out your garbage and clean up your site before you leave.

A reminder that most Forest Service offices will be closed on Monday, July 4th; however, firewood permits can be purchased at one of the following locations: *Helena: South’s Market, Broadwater Market, Rockhand Hardware, and Capital Sports and Western; *Townsend: Town & Ranch True Value; *Elliston: Elliston Store; *Lincoln: Grizzly Hardware; Choteau:  Rex’s Food Farm; Augusta: Allen’s Manix Store; Great Falls: Scheel’s Sports and North 40 Outfitters; Stanford: By-Way Service; Hobson: Nancy’s Country Market; Lewistown: Sports Center;  Neihart: Neihart Inconvenience Store; Harlowton: Wheatland County Sherriff’s Department; Vaughn: Valley Country Store (Eli’s Sinclair Station); White Sulphur Springs: Meagher County Sherriff’s Department. 

*These are the only vendors/locations that sell forest maps, as well.

 

Summer season hours

The Lincoln Ranger District office will be open, with limited hours, on weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and open Monday, July 4 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Augusta office will be open on weekends from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but will be closed daily from 12 to 12:30; however, the Augusta office will be closed on Monday, July 4.

For more information visit us on Facebook or online at www.fs.usda.gov/helena/. For more information on “One Less Spark means One Less Wildfire” go to: www.firesafemt.org, Facebook or Twitter #OneLessSpark.

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