Governor Greg Gianforte proclaimed May as Wildfire Awareness Month after the 2022 Montana fire briefing earlier this month. The meeting occurred earlier than usual to address fire concerns for the summer. 

Members of the fire briefing included members from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Emergency Services, and the Northern Rockies Coordination Center. 

The Montana drought Water Advisory Committee says the state is suffering the most severe drought conditions in more than 20 years. Gov. Gianforte adds that wildfires can affect communities making it a year-round concern.

So far this year, over 300 fires have already occurred in Montana, with over 3,000 acres burned. During the 2021 fire season, more than 740,000 acres burned in Montana According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 

An intense wildfire season also means implementing fire restrictions which vary depending on the severity of the area. Stage one fire restrictions prohibit building bonfires or campfires unless exempted under certain circumstances. Smoking is not permitted unless it is in an enclosed car and must be at least three feet away from flammable materials or land. 

Stage two fire restrictions prohibit smoking and building fires as well. This stage also forbids driving motorized vehicles off designated trails and roads. This stage also condemns using internal combustion engines, torches with an open flame, and explosives between the hours of 1:00 p.m – 1:00 a.m. 

While exemptions exist for both stages, it does not absolve a person or company of liability from starting fires on public land.