Heating up in a hurry
Stage 1 fire restrictions will be in effect at 12:01 a.m. this Friday morning.
Stillwater County’s burn permit system was also shut down Wednesday morning until further notice at the request of fire officials and law enforcement in light of extremely hot temperatures and dry conditions.
Stage 1 fire restrictions will be posted on the county’s website and include the following:
•No building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreational site, fire ring or improved site.
•No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreational site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
•Still allowed are petroleum or LPH fueled fires that can be turned on and off. Such devices can be only used in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device.
•Land within the Columbus city boundary is exempt.
During the last 10 days, fire fighters have responded to at least seven fires in Stillwater County, two of which were believed to have been sparked by fireworks. One fire involved haystacks that spread to a pasture and then reignited the following day, one occurred along the train tracks near Park City and one on the Beartooth Ranch required the use of a helicopter to get under control before it spread too far, according to Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office dispatch records.
Columbus temperatures this week are forecast to be sweltering — ranging from 101 degrees on Wednesday to no lower than 93 degrees through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Normal highs for this week are in the mid 80-degree range.
In Rapelje, the highs are forecast between 99 degrees and 92 degrees.
Contributing to drying conditions are below normal precipitation numbers for the past two months.
In Columbus, June’s precipitation was an inch below normal and May’s total was more than an inch below normal, according to the NWS. Rapelje’s numbers were slightly better, but still less than normal.
WATER CONSERVATION CALL FOR COLUMBUS RESIDENTS
Columbus Public Works Superintendent Dennis Holten has requested that residents of Columbus conserve water as much as possible for the next couple of weeks.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Holten reported that the Beartooth Heights well project is about one week behind schedule due to difficulties obtaining materials.
Without the Beartooth Heights well, the city is down one water source.
Currently, the city is getting enough water from the Island source in the Yellowstone River. However, with river water levels dropping, the availability of water for city usage also drops.
While there are no current water shortage problems, Holten asked that citizens reduce water usage in order to avoid any potential problems while the Beartooth Heights well project is ongoing.