Rural firefighters say illegal burning in Ravalli Co. growing out of control


HAMILTON, Mont. - Rural firefighters in Ravalli County said illegal burning is growing out of control. They met with county commissioners to discuss enacting a local ordinance.

Unless you have a state permit, you can't burn in Ravalli County from December 1 to March 1 in Ravalli County.

Open burning is against state law in the winter months. But firefighters in Hamilton alone answered 15 illegal burns this month.

They want a local ordinance that will give enforcement more teeth.

"It's putting a strain on volunteers," said Hamilton Rural Fire Chief Brad Mohn, "leaving their jobs to go to these illegal burns just to put them out. We have to come up with some solution."

The Ravalli County fire council, made up of 13 fire districts in the county, will research a local permit system, used in 14 counties, and will come up with a proposal to bring back to the commissioners.