(Gallatin County, Mont.)
On Friday, September 22, 2017, at approximately 4:00PM, the Gallatin County 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a passing motorist on I-90 at the bridge over the Gallatin River. The motorist stated they were certain they had seen a small child/infant, or possibly a doll, with blonde hair, dressed in a red jumpsuit, floating face down in the Gallatin River.

Two deputies immediately deployed to the bridge and the Four Corners Fishing Access outside Manhattan to contain the outermost search limits.

Over 20 members from various Gallatin County Search and Rescue Teams, along with Reach Air Ambulance, searched the section of the Gallatin River between the interstate and the Four Corners Fishing Access. No bodies or dolls were found, but a red couch cushion was located down-river from the I-90 bridge, which may account for the sighting. The search was concluded at 7:00PM.

No missing person reports have been received.

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Wet Weather Brings Fall Burning Opportunitites

GCEM Media Release

Media Release:  170919-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Wet Weather Brings Fall Burning Opportunities

Bozeman, MT – With fall weather setting in many fire departments are opening up burning for those with burn permits.  With increased precipitation the ability for individuals to conduct safe fall burning increases, but everyone is reminded to use safe controlled burn practices as large wildfires are still possible.  Anyone wishing to conduct a controlled burn should visit burnpermits.mt.gov to see if your fire department is allowing burning and to activate your burn permit.

The following fire departments are allowing open burning as of Tuesday (9/19) at 11:00 am.

  • Big Sky Fire Department
  • Bozeman Fire Department
  • Fort Ellis Fire Service Area
  • Gallatin Gateway Fire Department
  • Hebgen Basin Fire District
  • Hyalite Fire Department
  • Three Forks Fire Department

The following fire departments are currently closed to open burning.

  • Amsterdam Fire Department
  • Belgrade Fire Department
  • Bridger Canyon Fire District
  • Central Valley Fire District
  • Clarkston Fire Service Area
  • Gallatin River Ranch Fire District
  • Manhattan Fire District
  • Sedan Fire District
  • Willow Creek Fire District

Remember to burn safely!  Gallatin County is no stranger to fall wildfires.

Information on safely burning with a burn permit is available at:  https://www.readygallatin.com/community-resources/burn-permits.

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Ricocheting Bullets

At approximately 2:00 am on Sunday, September 10, 2017, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Sourdough Road and Goldstein Road for a report of gun shots fired.  An errant bullet entered a residence after ricocheting off of a road sign.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office believes the shots were fired from a moving vehicle and are asking any witnesses to come forward with information related to this incident.  This reckless act could very well have cost someone their life; the bullet entered dangerously close to the homeowners.

Anyone with information regarding this event are encouraged to call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Division at 406-582-2121.  Information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) may be eligible for a Crimestopper reward.

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Bad Day for Legs in Gallatin County

 (Gallatin County, Mont.) Monday lived up to its reputation sending Sheriff’s Search and Rescue to three events and three people to the hospital with leg injuries.  The first at 9:37 a.m., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting an injured angler on the Madison River approximately 2 miles north of West Yellowstone. The angler, a 74-year-old male from Missoula Montana, had suffered a possible broken leg after a fall along the river. GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call indicated that the angler was located just inside the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park. Rangers in charge of the event requested the assistance of Gallatin County Search and Rescue.

Personnel from the Sheriff’s Office, the West Yellowstone Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue, West Yellowstone Police Department, Montana Department of Livestock, Forest Service Law Enforcement, and Hebgen Basin Fire Department responded to assist with the rescue.

Rescuers were able to locate the injured angler and rangers on scene administered pain management medication necessary for the transport out. The rescue required the use of a single-wheeled litter to traverse a boggy wetlands area before transferring the angler to rescue sled being pulled by a four-wheeler. It was then necessary to use low-angle rescue techniques to assist the rescuers in traversing a short distance up a steep incline. The injured angler was then transferred to a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance for transport to the Big Sky Medical Center for medical evaluation.

The second at 11:46 A.M. when report of a 57 year old Bozeman woman bucked off a horse on Chesnut Mountain east of Bozeman.  She was transported out by a member of her party that had gone to get a four wheeler before calling 911 so SAR resources were canceled just prior to arriving at the trail head.  She was transported to the hospital with fractured ribs and a leg injury.  The third at 1:45 P.M. for a 23 year old Bozeman man near the Bridger Ridge Trail who fell and injured an ankle and was unable to walk.  Seven volunteer rescuers hiked the 4 miles up Sypes Canyon and brought him down using a wheeled litter after using ropes to navigate a steep section of terrain.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind everyone to be prepared, be careful, and be ready for the unexpected.  Knowing the terrain, wearing the appropriate gear and carrying a reliable communications device can go a long way towards safety. A seemingly minor injury can easily limit mobility enough to make it impossible to get out of the backcountry without assistance.  Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff / Search and Rescue.

 

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Have a Fire Safe Weekend

GCEM Media Release

Media Release:  170901-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Have a Fire Safe Weekend

Bozeman, MT – Everyone in Gallatin County is encouraged to use safe practices with fire over the weekend and for the remainder of fire season.  The conditions in many areas are very conducive to wildfires starting and rapidly growing into large devastating fires.  Gallatin County officials are asking everyone to limit their recreational fire use even in locations where they are still allowed.  “With much of Western Montana inundated with large wildfires, we don’t want to add Gallatin County to that list and we need everyone’s help to avoid wildfires here,” according to Patrick Lonergan, Gallatin County Emergency Manager.

Patrick Lonergan explained, “With wildfires burning across the West, and Hurricane Harvey in Texas, emergency resources are stretched thin.  The lack of resource availability combined with the vegetation and weather conditions creates a situation that makes catching wildfires when they are small very challenging.  The best way to prevent a devastating wildfire from occurring in Gallatin County is for our community to keep a fire from starting.  Officials are asking our community to avoid starting fires and if they do have a recreational fire, use extreme caution.”

Open burning in Gallatin County is currently closed and the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Montana DNRC and Montana FWP are enacting Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Saturday on their lands within Gallatin County.  Individuals recreating on these public lands should check with the respective agencies on the exact restrictions, but generally this restricts the use of campfires and smoking outdoors.  Recreational fires are still allowed, but discouraged, on private property in Gallatin County that are not classified forest lands (classified forest lands are regulated by DNRC & USFS).

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Below is a detailed release of the fire restrictions taking effect this weekend:

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Implemented Across the Zone

Thursday, August 31, 2017—Beginning at 00:01 a.m. Saturday, September 2, 2017 Stage I Fire Restrictions will be extended to include most areas in the South Central Montana Fire Zone on federal, state and some county lands.  Yellowstone National Park, the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area will not go into Stage 1 fire restrictions at this time.  The agencies were prompted to implement fire restrictions over a broader area because there was an increase in fire activity east of the Continental Divide since Wednesday, which further depleted firefighting resources.  In addition, red flag warnings are predicted.

In summary:

  • Custer Gallatin National Forest The national forest is in stage 1 fire restrictions with an exemption for campfires in improved recreation sites with metal fire rings starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01.  The Absaroka Beartooth and Lee Metcalf Wildernesss are excluded from restrictions at this time.  The East Zone is already in Stage 1 restrictions.
  • BLM lands in both Park and Gallatin Counties will move into Stage 1 restrictions with an exemption for campfires in improved recreation sites with metal fire rings starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01
  • Fish Wildlife and Parks lands which includes fishing access sites and state parks: Park County sites are currently under Stage 1 Restrictions with no campfires. Gallatin County sites will move into Stage 1 restrictions with no campfires starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01
  • Department of Natural Resources classified forest lands in Park and Gallatin County will move into Stage 1 restrictions with no campfires starting Saturday 9-2-17 at 00:01
  • Gallatin County has closed open burning under burn permits and does not implement staged fire restrictions. 
  • Yellowstone National Park has no fire restrictions at this time. However, campfires are always restricted to improved recreation sites with metal fire rings. 

 The purpose of fire restrictions is to reduce the risk of human-caused fires during periods of very high to extreme fire danger. These areas are experiencing critical fire conditions, including dry fuels, hot temperatures, low humidity, and high winds, all of which are expected to continue.

For more information about fire restrictions, and to check what areas are under restrictions, visit the Fire Restriction website at: https://firerestrictions.us/mt/ or call your local fire management agency, volunteer fire department, or county office.

Media Contacts: 

South Central Fire Zone Coordinator:  Greg Coleman gcoleman@parkcounty.org 406/222-4188

Acting Public Affairs Officer, Custer Gallatin National Forest for forest related questions:  Teri Seth, 406/587-6703

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Heart Problems are Scary. Heart Problems in the Backcountry are Worse

Press release Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a request for a backcountry rescue in the Beehive Basin area near Big Sky.  The 911 caller advised that a 67 year-old female, who had prior heart conditions, had collapsed on the trail. The woman was conscious and breathing, however she had an elevated heart rate, and it was not slowing even after taking in food and water.  The Big Sky Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue responded along with air ambulance Air Idaho.  An EMT that was on scene assisted Air Idaho with locating a landing zone and the patient was flown to the Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital.  Thanks to the reporting party having a sufficiently charged cell phone and having cell service the Sheriff’s Deputy Incident Commander was able to communicate on a regular basis regarding location and patient status.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind backcountry users that medical conditions that might easily be managed in town can become life threatening in the backcountry.  Know your limitations, know the country and take a partner when you are enjoying the hills of Gallatin County.

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Bear Canyon Rescue

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  4:30 Friday afternoon Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and Ft Ellis Fire Dept. were dispatched to the New World Gulch Trail in Bear Canyon East of Bozeman.  A hiker had come upon a lady laying beside the trail a mile and a half up that appeared disoriented.  The 66 year old Bear Canyon resident and her dog were found by Rescuers about a quarter mile from the trail head.  She had no memory of the majority of the day and could not say what had happened to her.  Evidence including an injury under her chin, chest abrasions and scrapes to the palms of her hands indicated some kind of fall.  She was transported to the hospital and treated for a severe concussion.  Sheriff Gootkin stated “This lady exercises on that trail every week and was out being active and taking advantage of what this county has to offer.  It just emphasizes the point that when you go into the back country even something simple like a fall can be a serious  problem.  Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to return with instructions to call the Sheriff’s Office if you don’t check back in. ”

File photo provided by GCSO

 

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Bacon Rind Trailhead Rescue

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 2:11 pm., the Gallatin County Dispatch Center received a call regarding a 59-year-old female from Washington who had fallen off her horse and sustained injuries to her hip and shoulder. The female was approximately two miles up the trail from the Bacon Rind trailhead in Yellowstone National Park.  Initial information indicated that the female had been unable to move from the spot where she had fallen for about two hours.  The location of the rescue incident was near the border between the Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone Park.

Personnel from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Yellowstone National Park (YNP) responded. YNP personnel in the area were able to conduct a hasty search of the trailhead and made contact with the patient within a very short time.  The female was more mobile by this time and was willing to attempt to hike out with assistance from a friend and park personnel.

Rescue efforts continued at the trailhead, with personnel and gear arriving and gearing up.  Personnel on horseback and a ground crew with a specialized one-wheel liter were arriving and preparing to go up the trail.  Communications with the rescue personnel on scene with the victim indicated that the patient was doing fine and was successfully walking out on her own.  The female was able to work her way out to the trailhead and decided to go to the Big Sky Medical Center for evaluation in her own vehicle.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind everyone of the importance of good communication resources when using the great backcountry areas that we all get to enjoy.  In this incident, no cell phone coverage was available in the area of the accident, but the female was traveling with friends and they had two-way radio communication with a base camp that did have cell service.  Remember to have a fully charged cell phone and another means of communication like an emergency beacon or satellite phone.

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ATV Fatality

On Wednesday, August 16th, a little before 9:00 pm, a 76 year- old ATV rider was reported overdue.  The man was riding in the Little Bear area near the mouth of Gallatin Canyon.

Multiple crews from the various groups of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue conducted an extensive search of the many roads and trails in the region.  A Reach helicopter and a Two Bear Air helicopter also responded.

Around 3:00 am, a ground crew located the man, who was deceased, on a remote and rugged trail about three and a half miles from the nearest road.

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Three Search and Rescue Calls with One Fatality

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue started a busy night at 5:30 P.M. yesterday when  missing 72-year-old woman with dementia was reported missing in Big Sky.  Sheriff’s Deputies and the Big Sky Division of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue started a search and she was soon found walking in the area.

At about 6:40 PM, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office advising they had received a 911 call from a cell phone. Before the call was disconnected, a man had said that he was hiking when a rock fell on him and he was bleeding.  No more information was attained before the call was lost but Dispatchers were able to obtain general location information based on cell phone tower information and the search was started in the area of Lava Lake.  With a Gallatin County Deputy acting as incident commander, the Big Sky division of Search and Rescue was again activated. An Air Idaho Medical Helicopter based in West Yellowstone was mobilized to try to narrow the search area and was soon able to locate the injured hiker.  The helicopter was also able to find a landing area, care for the hiker, and then fly him to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for further treatment.  His injuries consisted of a broken left humerus, a broken left scapula, soft tissue damage to his right shoulder, and a laceration to the top of his head.  As usual, a person who has some form of communication when they need assistance is a step ahead.

Then, a little before 9:00 PM,  76-year- old Stanley Hamilton of Bozeman was reported overdue by his wife. He had taken his ATV and was riding in the Little Bear area near the mouth of Gallatin Canyon. Multiple crews from the various groups of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue conducted an extensive search of the many roads and trails in the region. The Reach medical helicopter and Flathead County Sheriff’s Two Bear Air helicopter also responded.  Around 3:00 am, a ground crew located Mr. Hamilton deceased on a remote and rugged trail about three and a half miles from the nearest road.  Initial investigation at the scene indicates he crashed and died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.

 

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