County commissioners impose Stage II fire restrictions

By: 
Deb Hill
Managing Editor

On Wednesday afternoon, the Fergus County commissioners approved a resolution that will put the county under Stage II fire restrictions starting one minute after midnight on Aug. 4.

“We want to be proactive about this, because of the high fire danger this year,” said Commissioner Carl Seilstad. “But because the Stage II restrictions are more restrictive, we are giving people a little time before they take effect.”

Stage II restrictions prohibit:

• building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire;

• smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of flammable materials;

• operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

Stage II restrictions also impose what are known as “hoot owl” hours on some activities. The following acts are prohibited from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., with some exceptions:

• operating any internal combustion engine.

• welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

• using an explosive.

A one-hour foot patrol in the work area is required following the cessation of those activities.

For a few specific activities, written exemptions are possible. Agricultural activities are exempt, as long as certain mitigation measures are taken, such as having a truck or trailer with a 100-gallon water or tillage equipment capable of building fire line available.

According to Seilstad, county personnel, commissioners, fire wardens and resource management personnel meet weekly to discuss fuels and fire danger. The suggestion to go to Stage II restrictions came out of that call.

“Troy [Eades] is our fire warden and he participates in those calls,” Seilstad said. “Given how dry things are getting, it seemed like the best approach.”

 

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