Burn permit system shut down

Multiple fire agencies scramble to lightning-sparked and machine-caused fires during last several days
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, August 8, 2019
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Photo by Travis Hansen

On Aug. 3, Columbus Fire Rescue, Absarokee fire and a DNRC severity crew responded to this field fire on Buck Creek Road ignited by a swather.

Hot, dry weather being punctuated by strong evening thunderstorms and lightning-sparked fires prompted officials to shut down Stillwater County’s burn permit system.

The system was shut down as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday by the county Disaster and Emergency Services Office (DES) at the recommendation of area fire chiefs.

As is the routine for summer fires, crews responded fast and furious during the last week or so to prevent several fires from getting out of control. Some of those included the following:

•Aug. 3: A swather sparked a 2-acre fire on Buck Creek Road that was quickly extinguished by a Columbus Fire Rescue (CFR), Absarokee fire crews and a Department of Natural Resources and Conversation (DNRC) severity crew.

•Aug. 2: Molt and Laurel fire crews were called to a lightning-sparked grass fire involving a pole and some structures that were being threatened. About 45 minutes later, CFR and Molt crews were sent to a brush fire on Valley Creek Road.

•Aug. 1: Absarokee fire crews responded to a small fire near Lover’s Lane in the Absarokee area.

•July 30: CFR responded to two lightning-strike fires that were ignited within minutes of each other, one near Eagle’s Nest Ranch and the other near Stillwater Loop Road. Both involved less than half an acre.


The National Weather Service is predicting a slight cool-down, starting Friday with highs in the upper to mid 80s and a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday through Sunday.