Discovering Montana

News Releases

For Immediate Release - August 9, 2000
Contact: Anastasia Burton
Press Secretary
(406) 444-5523

Wild Fires Force Governor Racicot to Close
Public and Private Land in a Portion of Western Montana

(HELENA)---Governor Marc Racicot, in conjunction with Regional Forester Dale Bosworth, U.S. Forest Service and BLM State Director Mat Millenback, announced the closure of all forested lands (which includes grasslands located within half a mile of the forest) within the following counties, effective midnight Thursday, August 10th:

Governor Racicot cited the dangerous fire conditions existing within the forests as the impetus for the elevation in restrictions. "The record high fire danger with extreme fire potential, the limited fire-fighting resources available to respond to new fire starts and the several recent human-caused fires compel us to declare this elevated level of emergency,"Governor Racicot said. "Conditions are such that it is dangerous for public to be in forested areas because of possibility of being trapped by a fast-spreading fire."

Currently within the SW Montana zone:

Entry into closed areas requires a permit from the appropriate wildfire protection agency, except for homeowners whose principal residence is in a forested area.

The state waters of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin above the confluence of the Flathead and Clark Fork Rivers have been closed to all public recreation, including fishing.

A general permit for public use of the following areas has been approved by the Forest Service and the Department of Natural Resources Conservation (DNRC). The DNRC will update the list as conditions change. In addition, level IV fire restrictions remain in effect for all areas in the list that follows:

The Governor suggested that people should contact the Forest Service or DNRC for additional areas open to the public and for activities that, with a written permit, may be issued.

Governor Racicot emphasized that this Level V closure does not affect Glacier National Park or Yellowstone National Park, as these areas are not located within this zone.

For additional information or questions regarding the closure, call:

Governor Racicot suggested the following internet website for the latest fire information, including maps, restriction levels (and descriptions of what those restrictions entail), closures, etc., (the "1" in this address is a number "1" not a letter)

Another useful website:


Former Governor Racicot's Page Press Releases