GALLATIN COUNTY — We're currently in a drought in Gallatin County, which prompted county leaders to issue a burn ban, but there had to be some updates to the ban so people could work.
“We heard from folks that were doing private land forestry management that they were going to have to stop projects if we didn’t make that clarification, and so we thought that that made good sense,” explained Gallatin County Commissioner Zach Brown.
The county commission updated the current burn ban to allow residents to operate a motorized vehicle off a road or trail for agricultural or utility needs—such as maintaining livestock and water facilities or conducting forestry management on private land for fire mitigation.
"People that are in the middle of private land, thinning projects for example, or logging projects, and they just wanted to finish the season, finish their projects and wanted to know how our burn ban ordinance might consider their situation,” said Brown.
The burn ordinance was never intended to cause problems; in fact, it simply aimed at preventing them.
“Remember that this is one of the driest years on record," said Brown, "and one of the worst fire seasons of my lifetime and many of our lifetimes, and so we’re asking residents to step up and avoid risky behaviors and activities that could accidentally start new fires.”
The overall process of the amendment was relatively simple. Residents voiced concerns, and leaders went into action.
“We looked into it, talked to our attorneys, and then decided amongst ourselves that making those changes would be appropriate,” Brown said.
This particular update is specifically for the county's burn ban. If you live or have property in city limits or out of the county's jurisdiction, you should follow the specific ordinances for those locations.