The conditions this past Fall were to hot, dry and dangerous to do any pile burning in our Custer Gallatin National Forest so they're doing it now. If you find yourself in the backcountry, you may see smoke from these pile burns. No need to worry as they are controlled.

The announcement that the pile burning would take place was made on January 3rd, 2022. So what can we expect?

No area closures are planned for any of the pile burns. They will be closely monitored by ranger personnel. Close tabs will be kept on weather conditions and ground fuel availability.

Now that we've had plenty of snow, it's safe to get on with the pile burning. Better late than never! The goal is to reduce fuel for future forest fires. Hard work but a simple concept.

If you have any questions or need additional information, contact the Gardiner Ranger District at 406-848-7375 and the Yellowstone Ranger District at 406-222-1892.

WHERE WILL THE BURNING TAKE PLACE? Per the Custer Gallatin National Forest:

  • Pile burning on the Yellowstone District is planned south of Big Timber, MT in the East Boulder, Elk Creek, and Derby Gulch areas, along with south of Livingston, near the Snowbank Trailhead in the Mill Creek Drainage.
  • In the Crazy Mountains, piles will be burned in the Smith Creek and Upper Shields River area, as well as Half Moon Campground in Big Timber Canyon.
  • The East Boulder piles will finish the remaining slash piles from commercial timber harvest, reducing hazardous fuels and improving defensible space along the road corridor, including near transmission line infrastructure and the Sibanye Stillwater East Boulder Mine.
  • The Elk Creek area will address up to 1,000 hand piles over 70 acres: further reducing fuels on the landscape, promoting aspen regeneration, improving forest health and ultimately increasing wildlife forage.
  • On the Gardiner Ranger District, piles will be burned at the OTO Homestead, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This work is focused on small diameter conifers to improve defensibility around the homestead in the event of a wildfire.

If you are in need of a burn permit in Gallatin County, apply here.

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