Open Burning Ends November 30 in Gallatin County

GCEM Media Release

Media Release:  191114-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 548-0111

Open Burning Ends November 30 in Gallatin County

Bozeman, MT – The last day for opening burning in 2019 is November 30th in Gallatin County.  Open Burning is permitted from March 1 to November 30th each year in Montana with a valid burn permit.  Individuals in Gallatin County with a valid burn permit are reminded to finish their fall burning in the next two weeks.

After December 1st, only individuals conducting burning under special authorizations separate from Burn Permits (such as Hazard Reduction Agreements, land management agencies, etc…) in coordination with Montana Department of Environmental Quality are able to conduct burning.  This annual closure for Open Burning is in place to avoid affecting air quality with our frequent stagnant air in the winter season.

More information on Open Burning in Gallatin County is available at


Make “Safe Thinking” Your Holiday Motto

Release:  190628-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 548-0111

Make “Safe Thinking” Your Holiday Motto

Bozeman, MT – As we approach the Fourth of July Emergency Management encourages everyone to make “Safe Thinking” your motto as you are out celebrating.  Around the 4th of July holiday many people spend time with family and friends celebrating during our nice weather, but unfortunately the difference between a good time and an accident is a very fine line.  Emergency Management asks our community to think about the following thoughts while celebrating:

  • The grass is green, but vegetation and homes can still catch fire.  Think proactively about where you are setting fireworks off and where they will end up after being lit.
  • Fireworks are fun, but treat them with extreme respect.  Their behavior can be hard to predict and they frequently fail.  It is really easy to be harmed by fireworks as they burn extremely hot and will immediately burn skin.  Watch your kids closely.
  • Now is a great time to enjoy bon fires.  Ensure you safely construct your fire to keep it from accidentally spreading.  Keep a safe distance from the fire, every year people are injured from falling into recreational fires.
  • Don’t forget about your pet’s safety.  Keep them in a safe environment and ensure they have ID tags in case they get lost.


Missing Elderly Subject

This message is being issued by the Belgrade Police Department. The Belgrade Police Department is searching for a missing 81 year old male with dementia and other medical issues who walked away from his house on Cruiser Lane in Belgrade. The subject is named Walter and is wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. Belgrade Police requests that you look around your property and if you have any information to please contact the Police at 388-4262.

This message was posted automatically from the Community Notification System.

Keep the Water Flowing

Release: 190421-01

Keep the Water Flowing

Bozeman, MT – Many small waterways currently have a large quantity of water flowing through them in Gallatin County. Residents are encouraged to help Keep the Water Flowing by removing obstructions from waterways and drains to help prevent water from backing up. This time of year the amount of water flowing in our small waterways can change quickly and residents near waterways are asked to closely watch the water.

Ongoing investigation in West Yellowstone

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the West Yellowstone Police Department, in furtherance of a federal investigation, are conducting an enforcement operation in the 500 block of Firehole Avenue in West Yellowstone on Thursday, March 28.

To ensure the safety of the public and law enforcement officials, the Lewis and Clark County Bomb Squad, the Bozeman Fire Regional Hazmat Team, Hebgen Basin Fire District, the 83rd Civil Support Team and Gallatin County Emergency Management are on site. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is also providing a support vehicle.

There is no threat to the public. Firehole Avenue is currently closed between Geyser Street and Hayden Street to facilitate parking for investigating agencies.

As this is an open and ongoing investigation, no further details will be released as this time.

Media contact:
Whitney Bermes, Gallatin County communications coordinator
Cell: 406-595-8963

Spring Runoff

GCEM Media Release

Release:  19015-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 548-0111

Spring Runoff

Gallatin County, MT – As we move into spring the weather over the next 90 days will have a large impact on our spring runoff.  It is challenging in the middle of March to predict if we will get wet spring snow dumps, a quick spike in hot weather, or heavy warm rain – all of which impact how quickly our winter snow pack will melt off.  Ideally our snow will melt off continually over time, but when enough off these weather contributors occur the snow can melt faster than our waterways can accommodate and we see flooding.

At this point we can’t predict if flooding will occur, but we have a heavy snow pack on the valley floor and in the mountains.  If you live near a waterway, now is the time to make sure as much water as possible stays in the waterway.  Take some time now to do the following:

  • Clean debris out of culverts and from under bridges.
  • Clear debris out of ditches and other waterways.
  • Make sure there is a clear path for snow to melt away from your buildings.
  • Clear snow piles away from doors, windows and other places that makes it easy for melting snow to affect you.

Next, spend a few minutes to develop a plan on what you will do if flooding does affect you.

  • Identify where you could be affected by flooding.
  • Identify at what point the water would affect you, and develop a plan to keep the water from getting there.
  • Identify what you would need in order to implement your plan and where you will get the supplies.  The best source for sand bags is Bozeman Brick and Tile on Jackrabbit.

If flooding does occur, do this:

  • Closely monitor the water conditions and predicted weather.  Water levels change quickly and often peak in the middle of the night.
  • If it looks like your plan may need to be implemented to protect your property, get the supplies and implement the plan.  Once flooding occurs, it is too late to prevent the damage.
  • Once implemented, continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to make adjustments.  Water is hard to predict and it is going to go someplace.
  • Be safe around flood water.  It can be very dangerous and often catches people off guard.

More information at:


Trail Creek Train Derailment

Montana Rail Link Comment
At approximately 12:50 PM, a loaded coal train headed west derailed an estimated 40 cars east of Bozeman. There were no injuries to the crew and the train was not carrying hazardous materials. MRL is continuing to mobilize crews and equipment to assess and cleanup the incident. There is currently no estimated time for reopening the track. The cause of the incident is under investigation. 
About MRL
Based in Missoula, MT, Montana Rail Link (MRL) is a class II regional railroad that operates over 900 route miles of track in Montana and Idaho and employs nearly 1,200 dedicated professionals. MRL services over 150 local Montana businesses and moves their product to domestic and international markets on a daily basis. We are committed to providing transportation services that result in long-term growth and prosperity for our company, customers and employees. We live by our values of fairness, integrity, respect, safety and trust. We are committed to the safety of our employees, the general public and our customers. MRL prides ourselves on being a good neighbor in the communities we serve. As a BNSF partner, our shipments help feed, clothe, supply and power American and international homes and businesses every day. You can learn more about MRL at
Ross Lane
Chief Communications Officer
101 International Drive
Missoula, MT 59808

I-90 Fatal Accident

A multi vehicle accident on I-90 late Christmas Eve claimed the lives of two local people. Laci D Burkhart, 35, of Willow Creek, and Judd Richard Smutt, 41, of Bozeman were killed when the vehicle they were in traveled across the median and struck an eastbound semi head on. They were both pronounced dead on the scene. Although the semi jackknifed into another vehicle, no one else was injured in the accident. 

Horseshoe Fire Update 10:15 AM 9/16/18

SIZE:   1,223 acres

CAUSE:   Under Investigation
FIRE LOCATION:   20 miles N of Logan, Gallatin County
PROTECTION:   Gallatin County
OWNERSHIP:   Private

FIRE SITUATION:  Due to the firefighters’ hard work, the Horseshoe Fire was declared 100 % contained at 5 PM yesterday. A small group of resources continue to address an area of residual heat in the fire’s interior. All resources are expected to be demobilized by this afternoon.

This will be the final update unless significant activity occurs. Any further questions regarding the Horseshoe Fire should be directed towards Gallatin County Emergency Management.

On behalf of the County Assist Team: Thank you to all the firefighters, cooperators, and community members for your support during this incident.

EVACUATIONS:  Currently there are no evacuations in place.

ACCESS: Area roads are for resident and fire personnel access only.