Archery and upland bird hunters heading out for the opener this weekend need to be aware of closures on public lands in the Custer National Forest and Gallatin National Forest areas due to the Derby fire and the need to reduce the risk of more wildfires.
Starting at 12:01 a.m., September 1st, the Gallatin National Forest will implement Stage 3 Fire Restrictions, officially closing lands on the Big Timber Ranger District south of Interstate 90. The restrictions prohibit all persons from going into or being on National Forest lands in the Main, West, and East Boulder River drainages, and all other Gallatin National Forest lands east of the Boulder drainages, including the Deer Creeks, Bridger and Derby Mountain areas.
In addition, certain lands managed by the Custer National Forest, Red Lodge District, in the Deer Creeks, Meyers Creek, Picket Pin area were closed to public use on August 30.
Hunters will not be able to access any closed public lands.
The majority of Gallatin National Forest including the Crazy, Bridger, Gallatin, and Madison Mountain Ranges, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness east of Gardiner, and Cooke City area, remain open under Stage 1 Restrictions. Those restrictions limit use of campfires and charcoal fires to developed recreation sites. Restrictions do not apply to charcoal fires in metal BBQs and backpacking stoves that use liquid fuel. Smoking is also restricted to inside buildings, vehicles and developed recreation sites.
All FWP managed lands in the Region 5 area, including Wildlife Management Areas, Fishing Access Sites, and State Parks are under Stage 2 restrictions. No open fires or vehicles off roads are allowed on these public lands. For more details on fire restrictions visit FWP’s Drought and Fire web page.
Those hunting or recreating in other areas must still take precautions
To prevent the start of wildfires, please take these common sense precautions:
- When you park your vehicle make sure no dry grass is touching the catalytic converter or exhaust system. Find a bare spot along the roadside to park where your automobile will not block traffic.
- Avoid traveling off-road.
- Carry standard fire suppression equipment in your vehicle, including a gallon or two of water.
A fire extinguisher is a plus.
- Avoid campfires in dry areas, whether there are Stage I or II fire restrictions in place or not.
- Try to limit smoking when outdoors to your automobile or buildings in areas that are particularly dry, even if Stage I or II restrictions are not in place.
- If you are headed outdoors for the day, or an overnight trip, check the fire restrictions that apply where you intend to travel and to camp. Sources of this informaiton include all state and federal land management agencies, county commission offices, local fire officials, and the Internet. For FWP sites, go to FWP’s Drought & Fire Updates.
- When requesting permission to use private land, discuss the fire threat with the landowner so he or she knows you are aware of the problem and will act accordingly.
- Stay clear of areas of active fire to avoid creating safety issues and possibly delaying the supression effort.
For updates on conditions and land restrictions in effect on FWP managed lands and waters, please go to FWP’s Drought & Fire Updates.